MUNA: Tiny Desk Concert

Muna Merch

“It’s very cool to see that everyone who works for NPR is gay,” MUNA singer-guitarist Katie Gavin deadpanned by way of introduction at the band’s Tiny Desk concert. For a band whose latest album is currently soundtracking its second consecutive Pride Month, MUNA has found a deep kinship with queer audiences — a fact Gavin noted during the lead-in to a country reworking of 2021’s irresistible “Silk Chiffon.”

“We love being queer, and we find a lot of joy in it,” she said. “We think, like, if the world is gonna change in the way that it needs to, it’s very important for our revolution to be based on joy, and what brings us joy, and chasing after that.”

“Silk Chiffon” embodies that idea, but it’s also deepened by the version MUNA unveiled here: As its melody was transformed by a string-infused arrangement, it revealed a clear undercurrent of yearning only hinted at in the original.

Expanded into a septet, MUNA used the setting as an opportunity to lean into its moodier side. “Loose Garment” placed Naomi McPherson at the piano as Gavin applied subtle effects to her own plaintive voice. And “Stayaway,” a highlight from 2019’s Saves The World, placed such a demand on the three voices at MUNA’s core — Gavin, McPherson and Josette Maskin — that they practically exploded with relief when it was over.

MUNA’s appearance happened to coincide with a loosening of pandemic restrictions at the Tiny Desk — most notably the hard cap on the number of audience members who could attend. It was hard to miss the sense of liberation, and the surge of energy, in the sheer size of the crowd.


“Loose Garment”
“Silk Chiffon”

Katie Gavin: vocals, mandolin
Josette Maskin: guitar, vocals
Naomi McPherson: guitar, piano, synth, vocals
Geo Botelho: bass
Sarab Singh: drums, percussion
Tia Allen: viola, violin
Susan D. Mandel: cello

Producer: Bob Boilen
Director: Kara Frame
Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
Series Producer: Bobby Carter
Editor: Joshua Bryant
Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Sofia Seidel
Audio Assistant: Kwesi Lee
Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
Photographer: Michael Zamora
Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Hazel Cills
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann


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