Music of Rhode Island

Music of the United States
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Rhode Island is a state of the United States, located in the New England region. The first organ said to be designed for church use was installed at Trinity Church in Newport in 1733.


Popular Music


Providence, the state's capital, has a very strong local independent music scene, known especially for its contributions to the genre of noise rock, most notably the groups Lightning Bolt, Black Dice (who later re-located to New York City) and Arab on Radar.

Other indie rock and alternative artists from the city include Les Savy Fav, Dicky Barrett (vocalist for ska group Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Zox, The Low Anthem and Deer Tick.

College Hill

Rhode Island School of Design has been the alma mater of many popular musicians. Three members of the Talking Heads met at the college, but did not form the band until they moved to New York City

Notable musicians who graduated Providence's Brown University include Wendy Carlos, Lisa Loeb, Mary Chapin Carpenter, OK Go singer, Damian Kulash, Duncan Sheik, and Will Oldham, who dropped out after one semester.[1]


Newport has a much smaller scene, with Throwing Muses being its most successful rock band. The group formed in 1981 and recorded and toured until their hiatus in 2003. The band's lead guitarist and secondary songwriter, Tanya Donnelly also formed Belly, best known for their hit "Feed the Tree", which went to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart in 1994. Donnelly was also briefly guitarist for The Breeders.

The singing family The Cowsills, who had Top 40 hits from 1967 to 1969 also are from Newport

Since 2000, Newport has cultivated a small ska punk scene, headed by the Sublime cover group Badfish and the punk band Big World.

Rest of the state

Other well known Rhode Island musical artists from elsewhere in the state include John Cafferty, Blu Cantrell, Combustible Edison, Sage Francis, Monty Are I, Draco and the Malfoys and Billy Gillman.

Other music

Cape Verdean music

Of especial importance is the music of the large Cape Verdean population. Though Cape Verdean music is largely unknown outside of the expatriate community, Rhode Island is the acknowledged center for Cape Verdean morna and other styles in the United States.[2]

State song

In 1996, the state song of Rhode Island became "Rhode Island, It's for Me", which replaced "Rhode Island". "Rhode Island" became the official march of the state.

Rhode Island Philharmonic

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the most influential music institutions in the state.

Music festivals

Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival began in 1954 by George Wein and has been documented on recordings by Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. The 1958 festival was documented in the 1960 film Jazz on a Summer's Day. The festival moved to New York City in 1971. In 1985, the festival was revived in Newport as a JVC Jazz Festival.

Newport Folk Festival

The Newport Folk Festival began in 1959, co-founded by Jazz Festival founder George Wein. The festival is best known for the July 25, 1965 performance of Bob Dylan, where he performed for the first time with electric instruments. Like the Jazz Festival, the folk festival moved to New York City in 1971, but returned in 1986. Notable performers at the festivals included: Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Janis Ian, Suzanne Vega, Violent Femmes, The String Cheese Incident, Indigo Girls and The Pixies

Newport Music Festival

The Newport Music Festival is a classical music festival that began in 1969 as a summer season of the Metropolitan Opera. The outdoor venue was not conducive to classical music performance, and instead the grand rooms of the stately Newport mansions were put to use for chamber music concerts. The early concerts utilized many members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mark P. Malkovich, III has been the general director for 31 of the 37 seasons. It has become known for giving young international artists, such as Inessa Galante, a venue for their American debut.

Sunset Music Festival

The Sunset Music Festival began in 1997 in Newport and has included performances by acts as varied as Saves the Day, Jason Mraz, Paula Cole, moe., Little Feat, Jack's Mannequin, Peter Frampton, Bo Bice, Bruce Hornsby, Guster, Something Corporate, Ben Folds (who has played at several festival), Better Than Ezra, Cheap Trick, Gin Blossoms and Anna Nalick and also local artists like Becky Chace, Zox and Monty Are I.

List of popular musicians/bands from Rhode Island


  • Byron, Janet (1996). Country Music Lover's Guide to the U.S.A. (1st ed. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 178. ISBN 0-312-14300-1. 
  • Máximo, Susana and David Peterson (2000). "Music of Sweet Sorrow". In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.). World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. London: Rough Guides. pp. 448–457. ISBN 1-85828-636-0. 


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rhode Island — Rhode Islander. /rohd/ a state of the NE United States, on the Atlantic coast: a part of New England. 947,154; 1214 sq. mi. (3145 sq. km). Cap.: Providence. Abbr.: RI (for use with zip code), R.I. * * * officially Rhode Island and Providence… …   Universalium

  • Rhode Island, It's for Me — is the official state song of Rhode Island. The lyrics are by Charlie Hall, and the music was written by Maria Day. It was adopted as the state song in 1996, replacing Rhode Island, by T. Clarke Browne, which became the official state march.… …   Wikipedia

  • Rhode Island College — This article is about the current institution that has used this name since 1960. For the institution that used this name from 1764 until 1804, see Brown University. Rhode Island College Established 1854 Type Public …   Wikipedia

  • Rhode Island — This article is about the U.S. state of Rhode Island. For other uses, see Rhode Island (disambiguation). RI and R.I. redirect here. For other uses, see RI (disambiguation). State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations …   Wikipedia

  • Rhode Island Highlanders Pipe Band — The Rhode Island Highlanders Pipe Band is a bagpipe band in Rhode Island. Founded in 1948, and is the oldest pipe band in the state.Fact|date=February 2008 The band currently plays for parades, Burns Nights, Graduations etc., and also competes in …   Wikipedia

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  • South Kingstown, Rhode Island — Infobox Settlement official name = South Kingstown, Rhode Island settlement type = Town nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = image mapsize = 250px map caption = Location of South Kingstown in Rhode Island mapsize1 = map caption1 =… …   Wikipedia

  • University of Rhode Island — Motto Think Big. We Do. Established 1892 Type Public Endowment $73 mil …   Wikipedia

  • Downtown, Providence, Rhode Island — Downtown Providence Historic District U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district …   Wikipedia

  • Hope Valley, Rhode Island — Infobox Settlement official name = Hope Valley, Rhode Island settlement type = CDP nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = image mapsize = map caption = mapsize1 = map caption1 = subdivision type = Country subdivision name = United States… …   Wikipedia

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