Tiny Desk Intimate concerts, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
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Alec Ounsworth

As the frontman for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Alec Ounsworth wrote brash, poppy songs. But the singer and songwriter clearly had more music to make. In the fall of 2009, he released a solo record called Mo' Beauty, an album he wrote and recorded in New Orleans with a number of local musicians. Here, Ounsworth performs songs from Mo' Beauty, accompanied only by two guitars.

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Abaji

With a trove of instruments, languages and good humor, Abaji demonstrates his passion for music that reflects his numerous family roots, including Armenia, Turkey, Greece and France. Watch him perform a short concert at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.

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Edmar Castaneda

Castaneda is the sort of musician who isn't afraid to challenge the established order. He's carving out a place for himself in Latin jazz on an instrument you don't often hear in his style of music: the Colombian harp. Castaneda recently parked himself behind Bob Boilen's desk and crafted a transporting mix of tradition and improvisation.

Dave Rawlings Machine With Gillian Welch

Rawlings is a gifted producer, session guitarist and singer known for his contributions to other musicians' work, and for his longtime partnership with folk and traditional country artist Gillian Welch. But when he and Welch stopped by NPR for this Tiny Desk Concert , it was to promote Rawlings' own album — the first he's ever made under his name.

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Brooklyn Rider

It's hard to know what will happen when the string quartet Brooklyn Rider starts playing. Yes, these four guys love to play Debussy and Brahms, but they're just as likely to team up with a singer-songwriter or a Kurdish kamancheh player. Or write their own music. So we weren't sure what they'd do when they stopped by the NPR Music offices to play a Tiny Desk Concert. What we got was a bracing sample of their visceral fire.

The Low Anthem

When The Low Anthem came to perform at NPR Music, the band seemed humbled and comfortable sitting on and around Bob Boilen's desk, playing music as if it were hanging around in someone's living room. The group's sullen, spacious music was a perfect fit for the intimacy of an office.

Adam Arcuragi

When Arcuragi came to the NPR Music offices to play a Tiny Desk Concert, many of us hadn't heard his music. After hearing him play three songs, many walked away dazzled by his voice. Arcuragi's voice is powerful, but without unnecessary melodrama.

The Mountain Goats

In this solo show, John Darnielle's songs fit nearly into distinct categories: new and quiet, new and loud, old and quiet, and old and loud. It's no surprise that all four approaches serve him well.

Australian Chamber Orchestra

The adventurous ensemble has been widely praised for its risk-taking attitude. Gathered around Bob Boilen's desk, a stripped-down incarnation of the group plays music by Ravel, then unpacks several Egyptian instruments for an original composition.

The charming London indie-folk band Fanfarlo performs a holiday-themed set in the NPR Music offices. hide caption

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Fanfarlo

After playing a pair of songs from Reservoir, the band closed with a cover of Low's 1999 song "Just Like Christmas." Fanfarlo's members had practiced it all the way from Baltimore to D.C., not exactly a trek across continents, but the result was, well, perfect.

Lightning Dust specializes in quiet moments, whether in a shared glance or a finely-knit harmony. Frannie Kelley/NPR hide caption

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Lightning Dust

With singer Amber Webber's quivering vibrato and Joshua Wells' warm piano accompaniment, the group specializes in quietly dark moments, whether in a shared glance or a finely knit harmony.

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Andrew W.K.

Sometimes, an idea is so perverse and bizarre that it needs to be carried out and followed to its logical end. So once we hatched the idea to bring long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker Andrew W.K. to perform an intimate concert at Bob Boilen's desk, there was no abandoning it. It simply had to happen.

Zee Avi. Frannie Kelley/NPR hide caption

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Zee Avi

The success of Malaysian-born singer-songwriter Zee Avi is an increasingly familiar but noteworthy story: Avi was discovered after she posted a few songs on YouTube. Within two months, she was signed to release her self-titled debut. Here in this intimate Tiny Desk Concert, Avi sings three hushed lullabies, including what has become one of her signature songs: a cover of Morrissey's "First of the Gang."

Bowerbirds' captivating set of handcrafted songs has a distinctively sparse, harmonious sound. Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

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Bowerbirds

Bowerbirds' handcrafted songs creak and swell like wooden floorboards in an old house. With acoustic guitar, accordion and violin. Hear the group perform their captivating Tiny Desk Concert.

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K'naan

Though his appearance at the NPR Music office qualifies as the first-ever hip-hop Tiny Desk Concert, Somali-born rapper K'naan isn't one to adhere to a single genre.