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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Environment Man To Play NPR's Tiny Desk Concert?

By Holly Wood

Bob Boilen's work space desk is the stage at National Public Radio (NPR) for mini-concerts by an eclectic group of famous, near-famous and downright obscure musicians. Reps for Environment Man have made overtures for him to play at what is being called NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. Boilen is a veteran music producer for NPR and his desk is a perfect venue for the unique talent that is Eman to perform a three-to-four-song set.

Tom Jones, the Welsh heartthrob, sang at the Tiny Desk last spring. Boilen had conversations with reps of Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen when their tours came through Washington recently, but performances did not happen. Eman, pictured at right with The Ecology Band, is ready to go. Boilen likes to keep things diverse; he has had hip-hop artists and R&B singers, chamber orchestras and classical guitarists. Boilen says in The Washington Post that "Surprise and spontaneity -- that's kind of the idea...there's some sense of excitement not knowing what's going to happen...If you're really an artist, you'll take a chance."

The shows, which NPR videotapes and turns into webcasts and podcasts, are as intimate and minimal as the name implies. Boilen's desk is tucked into a quiet, cluttered corner of NPR's building on Massachusetts Avenue NW in Washingtin, DC. There are no amps, no special lighting. An electric keyboard is about as elaborate as the instrumentation gets. The shows have become popular enough on NPR's music Web site that music publicists now call Boilen to push clients.
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