The American radio channel NPR has for several years been making a series entitled Tiny desk concerts, in which artists do short performances live, not in a regular radio studio but behind a desk in an office. More than 400 such shows have been made, and the videos are available online.

 

This is a true goldmine of music, including a multitude of genre like jazz, pop, funk and country, but also classical string quartets, improv, afrobeat, flamenco, and classical and folk music from all around the world. Every concert lasts between around 10 and 25 minutes. Below I embed some of my favorite shows, but I strongly urge you all to go through the massive archives and fine your own favorites.

 

The Roma brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania puts on a highly intense show, as always.

 

 

Paolo Angeli from Sardinia takes the prize for the weirdest instrument, with his heavily modified baritone guitar that’s fitted with several sets of strings, foot controlled hammers to play bass lines, effect units, and much more.

 

 

The Kronos Quartet are magnificent as usual.

 

One-of-a-kind double bass virtuoso Renaud Garcia-Fons did an amazing solo performance.

 

Somehow the 21 (!) musicians and two cheerleaders that form Mucca Pazza managed to squeeze in behind (and on) the desk, and even found space to do choreographys for their hilarious take on marching band music.

 

So Percussion picked up various objects from the office, including coffee mugs and an amplified cactus (!), and used them as instruments in their concert.