Filed Under:

Chris Thile's First Musical Memory

Play associated audio

It's clear Chris Thile has an ear for music: The 31-year-old mandolinist, best known for his bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, has been playing music his entire life. But Thile also has a sharp musical memory: He says he was only a year old when he first heard "The Girl from Ipanema," with Stan Getz on saxophone, vocals from Astrud Gilberto and guitar from Joao Gilberto.

"It's my earliest musical memory," Thile tells All Things Considered host Melissa Block. "I remember the house on Nevada Street in Oceanside, Calif., is where that was happening, and I can remember sitting on the floor in a diaper listening to this song and feeling like it was being played fairly consistently."

Thile says that there's another reason he can put such an early date on the memory.

"I know it was early, because I could understand the Portuguese that Joao sings just as well as the English that Astrud sings," he says. "It wasn't that it was all gibberish — it was that I felt like I was catching the meaning from both."

Thile says he imagined his parents as the song's vocalists.

"In my mind, it was my dad singing and then my mom," he says. "I just remember it being incredibly comforting to me."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


Kentucky Boy Solves Rubik's Cube In Record Time

A 14-year-old boy from Lexington, Ky., has solved a Rubik's Cube in less than five seconds. As Guinness World Records declares this a record-breaker, we hear how NPR covered a Rubik's Cube competition in 1981.
WAMU 88.5

Recipes Get A Makeover With GIFs, Science, And Emojis

On Food Wednesday, we explore the new ways recipes are being presented, with everything from GIFs to scientific method.

WAMU 88.5

International Military Action In Syria

French President Hollande meets with President Obama in Washington to seek additional U.S. support in the fight against ISIS in Syria, and NATO holds an emergency meeting over the downed Russian fighter jet: An update on international military strategy in Syria.


Used Rocket Is A New Breakthrough For Blue Origin's Space Plan

Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has sent a craft past the edge of space and then landed its rocket safely – and vertically — in Texas.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.