Maita's music combines crisp staccato guitar licks, a subtle Brazilian pulse and vocals as soft as a late-afternoon ocean breeze. Yet without the electronic touches of her studio recordings, Maita glides, floats and sprinkles notes onto just the right places in this engaging Tiny Desk Concert.
With a pink tinsel tree and an animatronic singing Santa hat, the extraordinary jazz drummer clearly embraces the campy side of Christmas. His band's look may be a bit hokey, but as it proves in this performance, their musicianship isn't.
The Heligoats' Chris Otepka is the star of NPR Music's 100th Tiny Desk Concert. In many ways, he's the perfect act to mark that milestone: His music is best heard in an intimate setting, where his words can unfurl clearly and he can hold a small room rapt — which he does here, to say the least.
Harps are something of a curiosity, even to the other members of the orchestra: They're huge and difficult to tune. So when Kondonassis parked her giant and distinct Art Deco-inspired instrument behind the Tiny Desk, it had a powerful presence in the room.
Buke and Gass' homemade quality is what draws you in at first. Arone Dyer plays a modified baritone-ukulele run through effects that squeal with delight while bandmate Aron Sanchez runs his guitar-bass hybrid through two amps. Watch the duo play a joyfully pummeling set from the Tiny Desk.
The Icelandic singer usually warbles her folk-flavored tunes in her native Nordic tongue. But her new record, Innundir Skinni, is her first to include songs sung in English. Watch Arnalds perform a lovely Tiny Desk Concert from the NPR Music offices.
Hear new songs by two down-to-earth people with their heads in the clouds: Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Together, they write dreamy musings on everything from dark matter to the pedestrian and mundane. Watch the duo perform songs from Acoustic Sessions in the NPR offices.
The music and voice of singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten are engineered to turn each listener into a weepy, vulnerable heap. In this lovely performance at the NPR Music offices, Van Etten plays a beguiling set of songs from her latest album, Epic.
Los Lobos has proven time and again that a universal shared experience will always trump culture and language. This short set from the NPR Music office features something new, something old and something to dance to.
At the NPR Music offices, Trixie Whitley and Daniel Lanois brought a variety of instrumental backing, including an electronic bed for the single "I Believe in You," only to ditch many of the accoutrements on the fly. The result is a gripping and revealing performance.
Santacruz's music is as magical as his persona. His songs are filled with fantastic stories of men who make a thousand women fall in love with him, and whose funerals cause a biblical flood of tears. In honor of the Day of the Dead, watch Santacruz perform in traditional mariachi garb.
Few musicians get better with age. Nick Lowe is an exception: At 61, Lowe is part crooner, part country and a little crotchety, but with a heart of pure pop. Watch the veteran singer-songwriter perform a four-song set in the NPR Music offices.
There's nothing particularly funny about most 16th-century choral music, but the young members of the a cappella ensemble Stile Antico cracked themselves up the entire time they sound checked for this Tiny Desk Concert. But when the cameras started rolling, they were all business. Watch the 12-person ensemble perform in the NPR Music offices.