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NPR Arts & Life

National Air And Space Museum Sponsors Virtual Concert On YouTube

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Well, thousands of people went on YouTube last night to watch musicians sing about space and isolation.

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STING: (Singing) Giant steps are what you take walking on the moon.

INSKEEP: Sting was one of the performers for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's virtual concert Space Songs: Through the Distance.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Nearly a dozen musicians and groups contributed from home. Here's singer-songwriter Valerie June performing her original song "Astral Plane."

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VALERIE JUNE: And I was transported from my tiny little New York kitchen up into the ether.

MARTIN: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie performed a new song called "Proxima B."

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BEN GIBBARD: (Singing) I'm Proxima B, bathed the glow of Centauri. Proxima B, careless and free...

INSKEEP: A star of "Hamilton," Daveed Diggs, also made an appearance with his group Clipping.

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CLIPPING: (Rapping) He's missing something pretty. He's missing where the air tastes gritty. He's missing the splendor and misery of bodies, of cities, of being missed. There must be a better place to be somebody, be somebody else.

MARTIN: And actor Edward James Olmos recited part of the message carried by NASA's Voyager probe launched in 1977.

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EDWARD JAMES OLMOS: We're attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations.

MARTIN: However you are trying to survive in these times, Sting says he may as well play. And we get to enjoy the music.

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STING: Some may say... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.