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The Reed Artist

A writer searches Istanbul’s cafés and alleys for the king of the ney, an enigmatic — and at times, endangered — flute that has long been a mainstay of Muslim musical traditions.

By ROLLO ROMIG

Washington, D.C.’s Homegrown Funk: Go-Go Music

In honor of Black Music Month, take a tour through the history—and the sounds—of the musical culture that has been a cherished folkway in and around the nation’s capital for decades.

By ALONA WARTOFSKY

The Return of the Harmonica

In the 1970s, Hohner, the world’s largest harmonica manufacturer, changed its flagship model, and in the process its signature sound. A few musicians and harp customizers waged a quiet rebellion. And they won.

By BEN MARKS

An Artist Who Listens

Martha Mae Jones, a New York fabric artist, has built a rich (and financially successful) life by traveling to various countries, bouncing between art and political activism along the way. Throughout it all, she says, her creations, as well as her life choices, have come from heeding inner voices.

By MELANIE EVERSLEY

A Black Artist’s Haven on a (mostly) White Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard has long been seen as primarily a summer getaway paradise for the East Coast elite. Its reality, however, is far more complex. Dotted throughout the posh homes in this gorgeous island are substantial communities of minorities. One of the biggest and most popular, the town of Oak Bluffs, has welcomed and inspired generations of Black Americans, including an artist and doll maker named Janice Frame.

By SKIP FINLEY

The Agony and Ecstasy of an Oboe Reed Maker

Of all the wind instrument players in an orchestra, oboists are among the few who have to spend more time making their reeds than playing their music. As the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth has painfully learned, just one of the myriad micro-adjustments that reed makers create will make a world of difference in their music.

By JEFF GREENWALD
Photography by SCOTT CHERNIS

Mexico’s Master Guitar Makers

When a Disney film, “Coco,” spotlighted a small Mexican town where almost every shop makes guitars, it suddenly made ornate, white guitars famous. Underneath the new pop icon, however, lies a variety of much finer instruments—and a rich craft going back generations.

Story by LAURA FRASER
Photography and videography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

Prince Charles Redefines Originality

In a small brick building in East London, in a school developed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, students from around the world are giving new life to a set of artistic principles that have been nearly lost. Their work is helping to revive a number of nearly obsolete skills in art, architecture, and manufacturing, with a new tilt toward sustainability.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

The Quarantined Country Musician

Undaunted by masks, social distancing, and sheltering-in-place orders, Jonathan Byrd continues to draw large audiences. They gather online to watch his band perform all by themselves, from a small stage at The Kraken, a North Carolina dive bar.

By JANINE LATUS

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