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Aoife O'Donovan: 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.

Ideally, musicians recording Tiny Desk (home) concerts adhere to the series' core concept and perform behind some sort of desk, tiny or otherwise. But, barring that, it helps to make bookshelves your backdrop. When Aoife O'Donovan assembled her band at Portsmouth Book & Bar in Portsmouth, N.H., she made sure to note her surroundings: "It's great to be here, surrounded by all these books."

The Bostonian singer-songwriter, who these days splits her time between a solo career and her work with the Grammy-winning supergroup I'm With Her, has a sound nicely suited for bookish locales: O'Donovan's warm folk-pop music conjures memories of the Northeast folk boom of the '90s, the soaring plaintiveness of Indigo Girls and the winsome lilt of modern bluegrass, elevated by a voice that's searching and friendly.

Backed by guitarist and singer Isa Burke (from the band Lula Wiles), bassist Ethan Jodziewicz (who's toured with The Milk Carton Kids and others) and drummer Robin MacMillan, O'Donovan performed four songs from her gorgeous new album Age of Apathy. For the title track, they were joined by Virginia's Yasmin Williams — herself a Tiny Desk veteran, not to mention one of the most inventive and surprising guitarists around.


  • "B61"
  • "Elevators"
  • "Phoenix"
  • "Age of Apathy" (feat. Yasmin Williams)

  • Aoife O'Donovan: vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Isa Burke: backing vocals, electric guitar, fiddle
  • Ethan Jodziewicz: bass
  • Robin MacMillan: drums
  • Yasmin Williams: guitar

  • Video: Joe Aidonidis
  • Audio: Daniel Schwartz (recording), Darren Schneider (mixing)

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Kara Frame
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, NPR Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

    Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)