Local entrants to NPR's Tiny Desk contest to be showcased

Mar 1, 2016

An idea that was hatched years ago by NPR to highlight independent musicians from around the country has inspired a promoter to stage an event in downtown Buffalo.

The Tiny Desk Concert will be held tonight at Mohawk Place at 47 East Mohawk St. and will feature artists who submitted songs to NPR’s popular series. Tiny Desk was created by All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. It was a simple concept: provide independent musicians a chance to play intimate performances at Boilen’s desk.

Tony DeRosa, a local musician who serves as Mohawk Place’s chief sound engineer, told WBFO that Tiny Desk’s web postings spurred him to pull together a local musical showcase.

“I had seen a bunch of their videos that previously been done by everyone, including so many famous people. And then I caught wind that there were so many of the people I had seen come across the Mohawk stage and other local music venues that had put in entries of their own to be a part of the NPR Tiny Desk contest. So I kind of just put it all together.”

The bands that are set perform at an event that begins at 7 p.m. include Wolf, Parade Chic, and The Observers. These bands generally fall under the “indie” genre, but DeRosa said there will be a wide range of acts.

“Diverse and talented,” was how he described the mix of musicians.  “There’s everything from avant-garde art rock to incredibly sparse solo acoustic people. It’s hard to describe.”

DeRosa, a musician himself, can empathize with the challenges that often come with live performances.

“It’s still a strange thing to get up on stage in front of people and be maybe the only one that everyone’s got their…eyes and ears on,” he said. “I try to make that as comfortable as possible for them so they have, ideally, they can have fun.”