Category Archives: Why Music Matters

A series connecting music, ideas and storytelling. A collaboration of KEXP and AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio.

Why Music Matters: Navajo Musician Clarence Clearwater ‒ Music Heals

Clarence Clearwater performs his musical interpretation of traditional Navajo songs on the Grand Canyon railroad. He shared this story with us about how music has given him an option to express himself in ways other people, such as his grandfather, did not have. Listen to the story:

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Why Music Matters: Seattle Artist Vivi Perez ‒ Music Teaches What School Can’t

Vivi Perez was bored. She got good grades in high school, but she just didn’t care. Then one day, all that changed. She graduated high school thanks to the motivation she gained at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and youth-run record label, Youngstown Records.

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Why Music Matters: Hmong Immigrant Cher Veng ‒ Music Connects Me To Others

Cher Veng is a Hmong woman from Laos. She grew up without ever knowing her parents, who were both killed during the Vietnam War and the C.I.A.’s Secret War. Today, living in Washington State, she’s isolated from her family, who have been scattered all over the world. But there’s a way she finds comfort. SheRead more…

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Why Music Matters: Iranian actor Aria Saadi ‒ Forbidden Music

In Iran, you can’t drink alcohol, play Western music, or party with the opposite gender. One day when Aria was a teenager, he almost got caught by the Revolutionary Guards for all three. Here’s how he escaped.

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Why Music Matters: Seattle resident Nathan Hotchkiss ‒ With Music, It Got Better

Seattle resident, Nathan Hotchkiss grew up in a tough situation. His parents forbid him from listening to anything but Christian music or Classical because of their religion. And on top of that, in his early teens he realized he is gay, even though his parent’s church called homosexuality an “abomination.” Nathan shares the story ofRead more…

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Why Music Matters: Voices from Seattle ‒ Music and Money

Did you know that the music industry in King County is as big as the maritime industry? In this exclusive feature, KEXP examines the power of music in our local economy, speaking with hip-hop entrepreneurs, real estate agents and the Seattle Office of Film and Music. Listen to the story:

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Why Music Matters: Luge Athlete Christian Niccum – Music of Champions

If you’re an athlete, there’s nothing like music to pump you up before a competition. And if your sport is sledding down ice on your back at 90 mph, it’s even more important. American Luge Team member Christian Niccum explains how just the right music helped him break the record on one of the world’sRead more…

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Why Music Matters: Professor and Ifa Priest Dr. Kola Abimbola – Music Conquers a City

Let’s say you’ve got a problem. You might talk to your shrink, your mom, your rabbi. Or, you might go to an Ifa priest or priestess, like Dr. Kola Abimbola, to perform a divination. That’s the way to communicate with the gods in the Yoruba religions of Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean.   The priestRead more…

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Why Music Matters: Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Divya Singh – The Waltz of the O.R.

Despite her name, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Divya Singh is not a singer. (Singh is derived from the Sanskrit word for lion.) But music plays an important role in her operating room, even before she begins surgery. Listen to the story:

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Why Music Matters: Modern Dancer Amy O’Neal – Is Music a Crutch?

Amy O’Neal is a modern dancer, choreographer and co-founder of performance group, “locust“, with composer and musician, Zeke Keeble. Based in Seattle, the group has performed all over the United States. Music and video play a big role in their shows, but Amy shares a story about a time when she had to perform withoutRead more…

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