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esperanza spalding: 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.

Enter into esperanza spalding's safe space for healing through music and song with a Tiny Desk (home) concert of selections from her Songwrights Apothecary Lab, (S.A.L.) project. A constant iteration of evolutionary ideas, her songwriting workshop is both a bold examination of human existence and resilience and a guided research collaboration with a collective of musicians and researchers in the practices of neuroscience, psychology and music therapy.

"All Formwelas (songs) from the S.A.L. are created through our research, divination, intuition, musicianship, taste, inspiration, and collaborative effort to design songs that enhance a specific salutary affect," spalding writes on her project site, along with brief descriptions for each of the three Formwelas performed here.

"Formwela 3":"a re-membering with the sun's vast and perpetual blessing as evidenced by one's own aliveness and capacity for creating within self and community an un-corruptible home-planet"

"Formwela 4": "the articulation of needs streaming oxygenation through your ancestral vessel/vein of infinite life"

"Formwela 8": "a sound at ease, with no urge to move from that comfort place"

spalding's performance here is outstanding, and her top notch band, Loving presences (aka singers) and the Magical dance presence (aka dancer) add a dimension of creativity that amplifies the music's message and nourishes the spirit. Green-screened walls explode to reveal a constellation of imagery that complements the flow of this seductive music. Be sure to watch until the end.


  • "Formwela 3"
  • "Formwela 4"
  • "Formwela 8"
  • "Formwela 3"

  • esperanza spalding: vocals, bass
  • Vuyo (Vuyolwethu) Sotashe: vocals
  • Safa Ishmel-Muhammad: vocals
  • Corey King: vocals, guitar
  • Matthew Stevens: guitar
  • Leo Genovese: piano, Farfisa, Rhodes
  • Aaron Burnett: saxophone
  • Francisco Mela: drums

  • Donna Hope: vocals
  • Jeff Tang: vocals
  • Lileana Blain Cruz: vocals
  • Mariza Scotch: vocals
  • Lisa Lamothe: vocals
  • Diery Prudent: vocals
  • Adobuere Ebiama: vocals
  • Shamel Pitts: dancer, choreographer

  • Director: Adrien GYSTERE Peskine
  • Producer: esperanza spalding
  • Recorded and mixed by Fernando Lodeiro
  • Concept, Direction, Creative Direction, Sets, Editing, Foley, Choreography: Adrien GYSTERE Peskine
  • Choreography: Shamel Pitts
  • Production: Héloïse Darcq
  • Additional Production, Set Design: Anthony Peskine
  • Additional cameras: Jessica Cochran, Daniel Santos, Meg Stacker
  • Assistant Sound Engineer: Quinn McCarthy
  • Sudan Pyramids Footage: Alexis Peskine
  • Wardrobe: JOJO ABOT
  • Recorded at The Creamery Studio

  • Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Video Producer: Kara Frame
  • Audio Mastering: Andy Huether
  • Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Bobby Carter, Maia Stern, Josh Rogosin, Joshua Bryant, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

    Suraya Mohamed is a three-time Peabody Award-winning producer, sound designer and editor. She currently serves as the project manager for Jazz Night In America and is a contributing producer on the Alt.Latino podcast. She also produces NPR's holiday specials package, including Tinsel Tales, Hanukkah Lights, Toast Of The Nation, Pink Martini's Joy To The World: A Holiday Spectacular and most recently Hamilton: A Story Of US. You'll also find her work on the Tiny Desk series as either a producer or engineer.
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