Honoring The Legacy Of Robin Williams

To be a standup comic in the San Francisco Bay Area is to live in Robin Williams’ shadow. He lived here. He came up here, performing in the legendary Purple Onion and Holy City Zoo comedy clubs. Every so often, my Facebook and Twitter feeds would light up with posts reading “ROBIN WILLIAMS IS AT MY SHOW” or “Robin Williams saw my set and told me I was funny!” or simply a photo of an open miker, beaming next to a comedy demigod who looks exactly as kind in reality as he did on the big screen in his Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting “inspirational teacher roles.”

Robin_WilliamsI never met Robin Williams. Not once. I never found myself standing in a room with him, and even if I had, I doubt I would have approached him. I don’t take photos with celebrities, as a rule—it always feels self-serving and weird to me, a strange visual humblebrag that my Midwestern upbringing tells me is inappropriate. And what on earth would I have said to Robin Williams? “Hey, I’m a comedian, too, sort of. I have a day job, but someday I’m going to quit, and then I’ll be a real comedian, like you.” That, too, feels gross—if I couldn’t tell Robin Williams “I’m a comedian,” full stop, with no qualifications, then I wasn’t really a comedian. I would wait. I would become a real comedian. And I would run into him some other time, later.

I thought I had more time. We all did.
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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts

PARTYNEXTDOOR

Manifesting a sultry combination of R&B, electronic and hip hop music; PARTYNEXTDOOR showcases his smooth sounds with October’s Very Own camp. After touring with Drake, Future and Miguel, this Canadian vocalist has been groomed to be the next OVO star. His futuristic slow jams flicker through your speakers like candlelight.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.50.35 AMConnecting Stars

Connecting Stars is a South African folk-rock duo made up of Cheryl Engel, a studio session singer and Martin Engel, former bass player of rock band Tree63. Opening with the anthemic track “Pieces,” their self-titled debut release weaves acoustic guitar, piano with haunting melodies, harmonies and strains of glockenspiel, mandolin, ukulele and harmonica.
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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts 

Majid Jordan

Majid Jordan are a production and R&B duo out of Toronto that were featured on Drake’s hit single “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” off his critically acclaimed 2013 album Nothing Was The Same. Formerly known as GOOD People, Majid Jordan have been active since late 2011 and were most recently signed to Drake’s record label OVO Sound. Their debut single “A Place Like This” blends dark and soothing melodies with a distinguishing hip-hop sound.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 9.40.24 AMChristopher Tin

Christopher Tin is a two time Grammy award-winning composer whose work combines classical and world music influences. He has composed music for films, commercials and video games – being best known for his composition “Baba Yetu” featured in the 2005 game Civilization IV. He made history with this track by winning the first Grammy ever awarded to a piece written for a video game. His newest work The Drop That Contained The Sea debuted at Carnegie Hall in April, and comprises ten songs sung in a different language including “Water Prelude,” voiced in Proto-Indo-European as well as “Waloyo Yamoni – “We Overcome The Wind,” featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir and sung in the South African language, Xhosa.
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Inside The Collection: Pandora’s Guide To Colombian Rhythms

If you’re looking to stretch it out and dance this weekend, we recommend tapping into the boundless rhythms of one of the most musically and culturally diverse nations in the Americas, Colombia. We’re highlighting the incredible musical output that Colombia has generated over the past 70-plus years by offering up a trio of genre stations: Cumbia Colombiana, Salsa Colombiana and Vallenato.

The rhythm that has become most synonymous with Colombian identity is that of Cumbia. Centuries in the making and born out of the confluence of African, Indigenous and European cultures; Cumbia is by far the most popular Latin American dance rhythm and continues to be endlessly appropriated and adopted up and down the hemisphere, spawning countless offshoots and innovations.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 6.09.00 PMFrom the infectious swing of the early big band interpretations, pioneered by bandleaders like Pacho Galán, Lucho Bermúdez and Pedro Laza, to the stripped down accordion sound of squeeze box masters such as Alfredo Gutiérrez, Lisandro Meza and Andrés Landero; Cumbia as interpreted by the architects of the sound define the genre. Also included are some of the groups that would become international superstars like La Sonora Dinamita and Los Corraleros de Majagual, responsible in large part for so effectively disseminating Cumbia across Latin America and the world.
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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts 

Puss N Boots

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.41.20 AMAfter playing live together since 2008, Norah Jones (remembered for her smash hit album Come Away With Me), Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper have at last taken their collaboration into the studio. Their debut album No Fools, No Fun features a collection of original songs and covers that were cultivated from their live sets, including “Bull Rider,” written by Rodney Crowell and made famous by Johnny Cash. Over the years, they have shared the stage with the Beastie Boys on the Get Out The Vote tour and joined Wilco at Madison Square Garden, providing background vocals on “Jesus, Etc.”, of which their own interpretation is also featured on their debut album.

Boogaloo Assassins

Based out of Los Angeles, the Boogaloo Assassins are reviving the classic Latin Soul sounds of 1960’s New York. Their natural ease and flair, coupled with the meticulous attention to detail and authenticity, makes diehard aficionados and record-collector nerds smile from ear to ear. They have played a large supporting role in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the famed New York Latin music label Fania, backing up living legends Roberto Roena and Joe Bataan in concerts from East Coast to West. They first came to our attention as an independent artist submission and their debut release has recently been picked up by non other than Fania Records.
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