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Mucca Pazza: Tiny Desk Concert

When I first imagined Mucca Pazza at the Tiny Desk, I honestly had no idea how the Chicago band's 23 members would fit in — in the literal sense of the term. To load-test this performance, we actually gathered a gaggle of interns behind my desk and began to stack people on cabinets, step-stools and, of course, desks.

In nearly seven years of doing Tiny Desk Concerts, with more than 400 participating acts, this turned out to be the biggest one yet. It was also one of the most fun, with Mucca Pazza performing songs from its album L.Y.A. using trombones, saxophones, trumpets, woodwinds, violin, electric mandolin, accordion, cello, guitar, sousaphone, a big bass drum, percussion instruments and more. Then there were the cheerleaders.

I first heard this giant performance-art marching band at globalFEST 2013, and Mucca Pazza's mix of cacophony, symphony and crazed frolic makes it a large, lovable renegade. The band just celebrated its first 10 years together, so if you missed the first decade, prepare to be a fan of the next. You may even be tempted to join this circus.

Set List

  • "Subtle Frenzy"
  • "J'Accuse"
  • "Dirty Chompers"
  • "Holiday On Ice"
  • Credits

    Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Morgan McCloy, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Nick Michael; photo by Colin Marshall/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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