Narratively

The surprising back-stories and secret saviors of song.

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Meet Ladybeard, the Crown Prince of Japan’s Strangest Music Scene

Richard Magarey has facial hair, pigtails, a closetful of schoolgirl outfits and an endless supply of energy. In Tokyo, he became the world’s unlikeliest death metal superstar.

These Fearless Females Are Drumming Their Way Into Music’s Biggest Boys’ Club

How an international contest is inspiring everyone from little girls to grandmas to pick up drumsticks — and may be saving the musical instrument industry in the process.

His Biggest Hit Sold More Copies Than Any of the Beatles’. So Why Haven’t You Heard of Him?

In a life bookended by tragedy, Prince Nico Mbarga poured joy into music, including the most popular song in African history. But his own story has never been told — until now.

How Ray Charles Convinced Me to Be His Stand-In

I met the music legend as a journalist, and before I knew it, we'd grown close – close enough that when reporters interviewed him, I answered the questions.

The Last Time New York Was Hardcore

In the ’90s, one high-octane underground music scene desperately held on to its rebellious roots of power chords, slam dancing and stage diving. What happened to hardcore?

Can This Viral Video Star Conquer the Arab World?

One all-powerful Saudi company usually decides who becomes a music star in the Middle East. A blond bombshell named Myriam Klink has other ideas.

The Record Baron of Beirut

Through thirty-five years of sectarian strife and brutal civil war in Lebanon, a former fighter and obsessive vinyl collector has provided a vital soundtrack of distraction.

One-Man Band

From mallet-kat to balaphone, an industrious Washingtonian makes a living by mastering instruments most of us can hardly pronounce.

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By Whom the Bells Toll

Perched in a tower above the majestic Riverside Church, an eighty-two-year-old musician presides over the venue’s crown jewel—one of the world's largest carillons.