Melanie Charles: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

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NPR Music's Tiny Desk series will celebrate Black History Month by featuring four weeks of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and playlists by Black artists spanning different genres and generations each week. The lineup includes both emerging and established artists who will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time. This celebration highlights the beautiful cornucopia of Black music and our special way of presenting it. We hope you enjoy.
Nikki Birch | February 4, 2021
Within the warm walls of Williamsburg Music Center, one of Brooklyn's last surviving black-owned jazz venues, Melanie Charles takes us on a journey that embodies the soul of jazz: exploration. A Brooklynite proud of her rich Haitian heritage, Charles is conscious of the giant shoulders upon which she stands and takes steps to both honor and advance this music. Behind her, smiling pictures of her guardian angels, Mary Lou Williams and Billie Holiday, encourage Charles while she and her musicians blend the mystique of Haitian folk music with the sorrowful optimism of negro spirituals and the free space for elevation that jazz improvisation allows.
In "Damballa Wedo," Charles channels her Haitian roots and delivers a modern twist of a traditional vodou song by Toto Bissainthe. She sings that when we seek transformation, we may become someone who those around us no longer recognize, but that the change is necessary and part of the ancestors' divine plan. "C'est bon, c'est bon," she sings.
Charles' arrangement of "Deep River" is inspired by her admiration for Sun Ra. The biography of the eccentric composer, arranger, musician, and early pioneer of Afrofuturism, Space Is The Place rests on a stand behind her. By really digging into his approach and arrangements and using his "spaceship setup as a performance guide," she breathes new life into this spiritual, injecting it with a potency that is simultaneously somber and otherworldly.
She finishes the set with "Dilemma," a new song written to find the balance between self-care and showing up for those you love amid the cries for justice during the first summer of the pandemic. On our phone call, Charles explained that the song is an anthem that reminds us to not to "dim your light for anybody" and "remember how vibrant we are, despite what we as black people had to deal with in 2020."
This performance was a full circle moment for Melanie Charles. The Williamsburg Music Center is owned by Gerry Eastman, a celebrated musician and composer who taught the jazz class Charles and her brother and saxophonist, Rogerst Charles, attended when they were in high school. According to Charles, Eastman "represents a special era of Brooklyn jazz musicians" and created a space that gave these artists a place to perform when all other doors were closed to them. On this stage and many others, Melanie Charles continues her mission to show the world exactly what it means to Make Jazz Trill Again.
"Damballa Wedo"
"Deep River"
"The Dilemma"
Melanie Charles: vocals, keys and flute
Diego Ramirez: drums
Jonathan Michel: upright bass
Rogerst Charles: saxophone
Video: Dante Corbett
Audio: Danny Keith Taylor and BaeBro
Location: Williamsburg Music Center
Special Thanks: Gerry Eastman
Producer: Nikki Birch
Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith
Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
Art Director: CJ Riculan
Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Maia Stern
Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann


  1. NPR Music
    NPR Music
    27 dagen geleden

    NPR Music's Tiny Desk series is celebrating Black History Month by featuring four weeks of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and playlists by Black artists spanning different genres and generations. The lineup includes both emerging and established artists who will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time. Click here to watch what we’ve published so far:

    1. Bushmama Africa
      Bushmama Africa
      22 dagen geleden

      Thank you for this. Sometimes you don't know what you need to you receive it. This was it for me. Grateful

    2. wrestlerjayred
      23 dagen geleden

      is that a synth shes playing?

  2. yungfreckle
    Dag geleden

    My favorite NPR Tiny Desk OF ALL TIME 🇭🇹

  3. donatien nsiangani
    donatien nsiangani
    Dag geleden

    Waouh !! 🎶👌👌👌👌😂😍🇨🇩🇨🇩

  4. Timothy Philip
    Timothy Philip
    4 dagen geleden

    Repeat, repeat, Had to rewatch this

  5. MyFriendIsaac
    4 dagen geleden

    Definitely feeling her 💚💛🧡 The band did their thing too!!!

  6. 2WorLds CoLide
    2WorLds CoLide
    5 dagen geleden

    She gives a Nina Simone with her voice.. with the looks of Viola Davis. I just LovE ❤️ her uniqueness..

  7. Valerie Carre
    Valerie Carre
    7 dagen geleden

    Creole.. I love the black multiculturalism for black history.. So many of us have been migrating here for so long (i am Haitian). So many things that make up black American culture.. She gives of French Louisiana's creol vibe

  8. Amber D.
    Amber D.
    7 dagen geleden


  9. Daphney keita
    Daphney keita
    8 dagen geleden

    I couldn't find NOTHING WRONG with this performance at ALL!!! OVERJOYED 💜💯

  10. Likwuid Stylez
    Likwuid Stylez
    10 dagen geleden

    I listened to this in my green shoes

  11. FF 117
    FF 117
    11 dagen geleden

    By far one of the most genuine home concerts so far. Insane musical and sincere. Can I subscribe as a new fan?

  12. Xavier Rivera
    Xavier Rivera
    11 dagen geleden

    Where can I find audio of the dilemma? Or am I gonna have too do some back end work.

  13. rescuediaries
    12 dagen geleden

    You've made my heart sing. B E A U T I F U L. Everyone is so talented.

  14. Emmana Jasmin
    Emmana Jasmin
    13 dagen geleden

    Masterful and deeply compelling. ❤️💙 🇭🇹

  15. Medusa NekoChan
    Medusa NekoChan
    13 dagen geleden

    Is this French or creole cause I'm understanding and I'm scared 🤣

  16. Alex Mckinney
    Alex Mckinney
    14 dagen geleden

    Amazing ♥️♥️♥️

  17. SonOfDune
    15 dagen geleden

    Melanie! Rogerst! You are greatness! Iconic! Inspiring! Thank you for this incredible journey and moving experience!

  18. Chinazo Rena Anakwe
    Chinazo Rena Anakwe
    16 dagen geleden

    This was a BLESSING!! Thank you Melanie

  19. kalillita dub
    kalillita dub
    17 dagen geleden


  20. A kmm2
    A kmm2
    19 dagen geleden


  21. MrPhil75010
    19 dagen geleden

    Puissant !!!

  22. MoneyGod vG
    MoneyGod vG
    20 dagen geleden

    If you guys haven't already check out tash sultanas tiny desk concert she's pretty spiritual too and great

  23. LJ S
    LJ S
    21 dag geleden

    Appreciating the description about self transformation 🥰 also listening to embrace my partner's heritage and support them in becoming their best self ! Happy black history month!

  24. Fen Schmen
    Fen Schmen
    21 dag geleden

    Yoo it turns at up 4:40 so sick

  25. Allan Dubose
    Allan Dubose
    21 dag geleden

    This literally just made my whole day!

  26. Nathalia Machado Moutinho
    Nathalia Machado Moutinho
    21 dag geleden

    Amor, abraços e black power vindo direito do Brasil. Kiss from BRAZIL!!

  27. Pink Siifu
    Pink Siifu
    21 dag geleden


  28. Donovan Williams
    Donovan Williams
    21 dag geleden

    WOW. I love the sound. So bright and hopeful with a melancholic undertone. Love that avantgrade, sort of syncopated feel. This is truly BLACK EXCELLENCE. Music like this means so much to me and I am truly appreciative of those still paying homage and representing, as well as redefining in their own way, jazz music. 🙏🏾peace and blessings

  29. Melanie Charles
    Melanie Charles
    21 dag geleden

    Thank You so much everyone for the love! Thank you Tiny Desk!

    1. MyFriendIsaac
      4 dagen geleden

      Thank you for the BRILLIANCE 👏🏾

    2. friengy
      12 dagen geleden

      You rock !!!

    3. 🖤💕💐🌺🌹🦜☘️
      14 dagen geleden

      This was amazing!

    4. lotsoflittleworlds
      14 dagen geleden


    5. SWARVY
      16 dagen geleden

  30. Beatriz Natália
    Beatriz Natália
    21 dag geleden

    Como eu fiquei esse tempo todo sem conhecer essa voz?

  31. Emily Cervantes
    Emily Cervantes
    22 dagen geleden

    Hey guys you should invite the band ocean alley!

  32. Poquito H
    Poquito H
    22 dagen geleden

    💖She is wonderful 🎉🎉

  33. Chonies Music Inc.
    Chonies Music Inc.
    22 dagen geleden

    this is incredible

  34. Nandi Kayyy
    Nandi Kayyy
    22 dagen geleden

    Melanie, you are so incredible! I'm so glad more of the world can hear your gift!!!!

  35. Ms. Jack
    Ms. Jack
    22 dagen geleden

    C'est assez bon.

  36. Natalie Rachel Louise Santana
    Natalie Rachel Louise Santana
    22 dagen geleden

    Erm, wow. 🙏🏽❤️

  37. Ardean Peters
    Ardean Peters
    23 dagen geleden

    Wonderful 👏🏽

  38. J Salvant
    J Salvant
    23 dagen geleden


  39. wrestlerjayred
    23 dagen geleden

    she has an amazing voice!

  40. brokemc
    23 dagen geleden

    Queen got me feelin lit.

  41. TiWanTiWa Abibiman
    TiWanTiWa Abibiman
    23 dagen geleden

    First time hearing/feeling this SiStar! Luv this and the fact that she shouted out the jazz joint in BROOKLYN!!!

  42. QNA Band
    QNA Band
    23 dagen geleden


  43. Ronaldo Khardewsaw
    Ronaldo Khardewsaw
    23 dagen geleden

    Nina Simone vibes

  44. Achmad fauzyyy
    Achmad fauzyyy
    24 dagen geleden

    5sos please

  45. Achmad fauzyyy
    Achmad fauzyyy
    24 dagen geleden

    Please do 5sos

  46. leveL racecaR
    leveL racecaR
    24 dagen geleden

    Can yall get SZA soon👀

  47. Timothy Zwitser CD
    Timothy Zwitser CD
    24 dagen geleden

    The Dilemma resonated to my current truth so clearly, It struck all the right emotional cords... Liberating and empowering! Where can I find this beautiful song??? It will go straight into my collection. Thanks for sharing your light Miss Charles @nprtinydesk

  48. Senpa
    25 dagen geleden

    Ouvir ela me despertou

  49. antunes7777
    25 dagen geleden

    Melanie is amazing!!!!

  50. Ma Pi
    Ma Pi
    25 dagen geleden

    Cool. I'm happy with that.

  51. Jack Mead
    Jack Mead
    25 dagen geleden

    Got some Nina Simone vibez

  52. Manuela Dospina
    Manuela Dospina
    25 dagen geleden

    "Be on my side", is one of her most touching songs I have ever listened to. Melanie, you are a queen!

    1. Mistah Rapsey
      Mistah Rapsey
      24 dagen geleden

      I love that song too!

  53. Laís Viana
    Laís Viana
    25 dagen geleden

    This is beyond amazing

  54. mame cheikh mbaye
    mame cheikh mbaye
    26 dagen geleden

    Nina simone ?

  55. Justin Adu
    Justin Adu
    26 dagen geleden

    What beat is the brotha on the cello playing to?

  56. Hyago Kaike
    Hyago Kaike
    26 dagen geleden

    hey, NPR, I think it's time for us to see Labrinth on this stage! 🦋

  57. bluenef
    26 dagen geleden


  58. Ms. Jack
    Ms. Jack
    26 dagen geleden

    This is why I love NPR music. Serendipitously finding epic and organic artistes such as this.

  59. karamella365
    26 dagen geleden

    Immediatement... Mwen tande kreyol! Haïti/Ayïti kampe dwoit! J'ecoute. La premiere chanson... C'est classique

  60. Gnosis Doula
    Gnosis Doula
    26 dagen geleden

    Honestly though to me black womxn and artistry is the most superb and badass. Such incredible expression of love, pain, divinity, humanity, genius, beauty and resilience 🙏🏼 Unmatched.

  61. Thaddeus Ford
    Thaddeus Ford
    26 dagen geleden

    just got hip to her. this is wonderful on many levels. definitely deserving of wider acclaim. 🙏🏾

  62. Roberto Trio
    Roberto Trio
    26 dagen geleden

    very impressive and exciting. i love your music

  63. 썬씨티
    27 dagen geleden

    이게 바로 진짜 예술이다! I feel originality of artistic sense in human soul. Thanks a lot !....from South korea.

  64. Ava Borelli
    Ava Borelli
    27 dagen geleden


  65. Lynn Legend
    Lynn Legend
    27 dagen geleden

    🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 my guy Rogezzyyy on the sax 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  66. LYNmUsic Official
    LYNmUsic Official
    27 dagen geleden

    She calling up spirits.......

  67. Cedric Harris
    Cedric Harris
    27 dagen geleden

    Maaaaan, the dynamics on that first jawn! Loved it! Tiny Desk, thanks for introducing me to a great new musical treat, Melanie Charles.

  68. Jan'a Freeman
    Jan'a Freeman
    27 dagen geleden

    The sis :) so BEAUTIFUL

  69. Jacob Andrews
    Jacob Andrews
    27 dagen geleden


  70. Jonathan Jones
    Jonathan Jones
    27 dagen geleden

    Man, I been slappin that Girl With The Green Shoes tape for years. I'm loving these live performances you give. Excited for that next!! 👀👀👀

  71. castroleiro
    27 dagen geleden

    Shine your light on us Star Goddess! Wow.

  72. Chloe Smith
    Chloe Smith
    27 dagen geleden

    Come through Tiny Desk~Loved this

  73. Sofia Lebedeva
    Sofia Lebedeva
    27 dagen geleden

    I had so much fun listening! exactly what I was searching for

  74. bthequeen
    27 dagen geleden

    Just gained a new fan! Loved it

  75. Luc Vaillancourt
    Luc Vaillancourt
    27 dagen geleden

    The band starts at 4:50.

  76. dj sez'n
    dj sez'n
    27 dagen geleden


  77. Giveton Gelin
    Giveton Gelin
    27 dagen geleden

    The Intro is too fire 🔥🔥

  78. Knatty Tracazoid
    Knatty Tracazoid
    27 dagen geleden

    Thank you NPR for putting us onto new artists. I truly appreciate this.

  79. Rockcue
    28 dagen geleden

    sound good

  80. Allison Stroud
    Allison Stroud
    28 dagen geleden

    Oh my. I'm obsessed! I will be listening to this all month and beyond.

  81. Arlo
    28 dagen geleden

    I don't know how I've gone this long without knowing her, but I'm so glad I do now

  82. Patricia L.
    Patricia L.
    28 dagen geleden

    YO! Thank you guys for your platform and thank you Melanie for sharing your talent with your world so boldly and beautifully ❤️

  83. SevenHouse Holdings
    SevenHouse Holdings
    28 dagen geleden

    Living Legend 🙏🙌✨🌎❤️👑

  84. chillz261
    28 dagen geleden

    Pleasant surprise finding a new Haitian artist 🇭🇹🇭🇹🇭🇹

  85. Kasandra Vital
    Kasandra Vital
    28 dagen geleden

    Melanie and the band killed this!!! She blessed us with 🔥 🔥🔥🔥for realllllll!!! Vibration on TRILL!!!!

  86. Isha Rosemond
    Isha Rosemond
    28 dagen geleden

    Now y’all KNOW this wasn’t nearly long enough 😭😭😭 Guess I’ll have to replay this for the next seventylemn years or whatever 🥺 AMAZING!

  87. jjutt87
    28 dagen geleden

    You're not ready for 4:50 I'm telling you you're not ready. Melanie been Making Jazz Trill Again. Bless up NPR Tiny Desk! Idk who started cutting onions on that last track 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  88. Tommaso Cappellato
    Tommaso Cappellato
    28 dagen geleden

    So lovely to see Melanie Charles on here! Thank you Tiny Desk for exposing true artistry to the world!

  89. Skye Thomas
    Skye Thomas
    28 dagen geleden


  90. Skye Thomas
    Skye Thomas
    28 dagen geleden

    fastest click ever

  91. david
    28 dagen geleden

    Wow! Perfection!

  92. tausenti
    28 dagen geleden


  93. Im.
    28 dagen geleden


  94. Im.
    28 dagen geleden

    Chut !...the soul is expressing itself

  95. T. Brooks
    T. Brooks
    28 dagen geleden

    Even though we didn't get our STIMULUS!🤣🤣✊🏾✊🏾

    1. thesun collective147
      thesun collective147
      23 dagen geleden

      13:12 good line Lol..still I think it coming now..that'll bring the country together!

  96. T. Brooks
    T. Brooks
    28 dagen geleden

    YOU BETTER SANG GIRL!!!!! "We still shine bright" New fan!! And band, y'all BETTER PLAY!! 💚💚💚💚

  97. Sung Ha
    Sung Ha
    28 dagen geleden

    I would like to see Ron Burgundy top this performance.

  98. Rayaz Khan
    Rayaz Khan
    28 dagen geleden

    not to take away from any of this clear musical technical m a s t e r y, but 13:05 made me burst out laughing LOL

    1. Petrice B
      Petrice B
      15 dagen geleden


    28 dagen geleden


  100. Mark de Clive-Lowe
    Mark de Clive-Lowe
    28 dagen geleden

    Melanie Charles is the truth !!!!! so good