Small Office Meets SXSW:KAINA:NPR

Every year, NPR Music participates in the SXSW Music Festival, whether it’s hosting a stage or simply attending hundreds of shows at the annual event in Austin, TX. In 2020, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but returned last March as an online festival. We have scheduled a virtual “stage” of Tiny Desk (home) concerts in 2021 in a series called Tiny Desk Meets SXSW. This year we return again, virtually, with another Tiny Desk Meets SXSW tour: four videos shot in various locations, all full of surprises.

Staged with a meandering tour of the crowded gathering of musicians in a mystical recreation of the casita of her childhood, Chicago-based singer KAINA offers her gig-goer Tiny Desk (house) a temporarily messy invitation to come to her home after school. ‘school .

It doesn’t take much to imagine what it was like in the singer’s childhood home: salsa bouncing off the walls, arepas leaking from the kitchen, no one is allowed to go home without food ( thanks in part to his Venezuelan and Guatemalan parents). KAINA channels that same casita-born energy into her performance here. She opens the performance with the title track from her new album, “It Was a Home,” a shimmering piece with nostalgic riffs and smooth percussion. She mentions she was featured in Saba’s 2018 Tiny Desk, but this is the first time she’s owned the performance herself – and she barely takes a beat after the song ends to bask in the glory. of his experience on stage before taking his time naming each person onstage – and offstage – who built the 15-minute performance. Moving on to her upbeat and more zanier number, “Apple”, she brings more “friends” (instrumentalists, singers and puppets included) to the screen for the performance. Closing with a full-bodied performance backed by a choir of “Casita”, she again takes time to give the voices around her equal space next to her own.

But her community — those star musicians, the city of Chicago, Latinas across the country — aren’t the only people she’s uplifting here. She uses this space, her casita and this moment in her career to speak to her inner child, as she describes in “It Was a Home”. She assures him that when she grows up, she will use her voice to light up her casita, begging the whole world to marvel at her beauty.


  • “It was a house”
  • “Apple”
  • “Casita”


  • KAINA: vocals
  • Michael Hilger: keyboards
  • Sen Morimoto: keyboard, vocals
  • Ryan Person: drums
  • Brian Sanborn: guitar
  • Quinn Cochran: guitar, vocals
  • Michel Cantella: bass
  • Background singers: NNAMDÏ, Paige Pohlad, Kara Jackson


  • Directed and produced by: Bitchcraft Collective
  • Director of photography: Matt Hatleberg
  • Edited by: Jack Cronin
  • Audio: Brok Mende
  • Puppeteers: Frances Farlee, Ashley De La Torre, Quinn Regan, Izzi Vasquez
  • Producer: Kaleb Eisenman
  • Executive producers: Saró and Matt Hatleberg
  • Co-directors: Kaden Maloney and Rachel Cole
  • UPM: Alexis Vergara
  • 1st Assistant Director: Erica Martens
  • Scenographers: Kaden Maloney, Rachel Cole and Alexis Vergara
  • Steadicam Operator: Brian Delisi
  • Camera Operator B: Luciana Salinas
  • 1st Assistant Camera: Doug Birch
  • Blunderer: Ted Holmwood
  • Key Grip: Chris “Skoach” Owsiany
  • Colorist/DIT: Spencer Hagerman

Recording friends of friends

Special thanks:

  • bryan casallo
  • Pogi Studios
  • Camera Ambassador
  • Atlas Lighting
  • magnanimous media
  • Josh Jones


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Small production team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann