Nilüfer Yanya: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

July 22, 2020 | Bob Boilen — After performing her opening song, “Heat Rises,” Nilüfer Yanya pauses to say a few things about herself, something we’ve been asking artists to do for these Tiny Desk (home) concerts.

“One of the things that’s been on my mind a lot is the racism and violence and injustice going on towards Black people and people of color, not only in America but here in the U.K. and all over the world. As a person of mixed heritage” — Nilüfer’s father is Turkish and her mother is of Irish and Barbadian descent — “this issue is something close to my heart.” Nilüfer urges us all to see the hurt being done. It’s the only way forward.

She then plays “Paralyzed,” a song she’s not performed live before, from her brilliant 2019 record Miss Universe. I hear these words so differently now:

I hear strained screams from Heaven singin’
“save me”
This can’t be okay
Shadow’s lyin’ here
And it’s blocking out the light
(I am paralyzed)

She also unveils a new song for us, “Day 7,” and performs two others from Miss Universe, providing a lovely contrast to her full-band performance at my desk last year and an easy introduction to an artist who may, and most likely will, make her way to your heart.

“Heat Rises”
“Day 7”
“Heavyweight Champion of the Year”

Nilüfer Yanya: vocals, guitar

Audio By: Joe Dworniak, Riverfish Studios; Producer: Bob Boilen; Audio Mastering Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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Written by Tag Brum

Tag Brum lives in Brooklyn and writes things from a computer whenever wi-fi is available.
You can follow him on Twitter @tagbrum.

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