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World Cafe Words and Music from WXPN

NPR

WXPN's live performance and interview program featuring music and conversation from a variety of important musicians

WXPN's live performance and interview program featuring music and conversation from a variety of important musicians
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Location:

Philadelphia, PA

Networks:

NPR

WXPN

Description:

WXPN's live performance and interview program featuring music and conversation from a variety of important musicians

Language:

English


Episodes

Rescued From The Vault: Nat Turner Rebellion

5/21/2019
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Fifty years ago, the band Nat Turner Rebellion made a funky album in Philadelphia that could have been a total classic. The band had a record deal, fans and, according to founder Joe Jefferson the members were "crowd killers." But then, it all fell apart and the album has been pretty much buried in audio archives — until now. Nat Turner Rebellion's debut, 'Laugh to Keep from Crying', was recently released for the first time. We heard the story of Nat Turner Rebellion on WHYY, our fellow...

Duration:00:08:10

Yola Has Walked Through Fire (And Came Out Singing)

5/20/2019
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The songs on Yola's debut full-length solo album, 'Walk Through Fire', ring out with the triumphant air of someone who has withstood the flames and the heat en route to achieving their dreams. The title is a metaphor for some of the tribulations Yola has faced – including experiencing homelessness in London, and enduring an emotionally abusive relationship. The title is also a nod to the time Yola's dress literally caught fire a few years ago, and sent her house up in flames. Yola shares...

Duration:00:47:58

George Benson Has A Story To Tell

5/15/2019
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When Warner Bros. heard George Benson's take on "This Masquerade," they didn't realize he was the vocalist. It's one of the many amazing tales Benson shares with us on World Cafe. Benson's latest album is 'Walking to New Orleans', a tribute to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. Benson is one of America's great guitarists, a virtuoso who's been honored by the National Endowment of the Arts as a jazz master. He's won 10 Grammys, including record of the year for his triple platinum 'Breezin". He's...

Duration:00:30:25

Pedro The Lion's Homecoming

5/10/2019
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David Bazan has been releasing solo records steadily for the past decade, but 'Phoenix' marks his first album returning as Pedro the Lion in 15 years. The record was inspired by Phoenix, Arizona, where Bazan lived until he was 12 years old. Phoenix is also the place where he says he first "got into debt" with himself, a phrase Bazan uses to describe bottling up feelings over time. The album houses many of Bazan's childhood memories and stunning moments of personal poetry reflected through...

Duration:00:27:27

Leyla McCalla Has The Capitalist Blues

5/8/2019
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As you may guess from the title of her third solo album, Leyla McCalla tackles social and economic issues pretty directly on 'The Capitalist Blues'. The multi-instrumentalist and Carolina Chocolate Drops alumna sings about everything from injustice and poverty to her daughter's experience with elevated levels of lead. And although the topics are heavy, the music is danceable — a treatment informed by the troubadour traditions of McCalla's Haitian roots and the Cajun and Zydeco traditions of...

Duration:00:29:29

Foals On Writing in Pubs and Cycling Around Lakes

5/7/2019
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Foals' latest album, 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1', came out in March. 'Part 2' comes out in the fall. The band has been releasing stadium-sized songs for just over a decade, and this time around, it made a couple changes in pursuit of ultimate creative freedom. The members of Foals produced the albums themselves. They tried to avoid narrowing down song structures too early in the process and they built the music in studio from the ground up. That meant once the music was...

Duration:00:29:20

With A Big Pop Sound And Sticky Turn Of Phrases, The Beths Are Taking Over

5/6/2019
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The Beths are a rising band in the indie-pop scene, and yes, there is an Elizabeth leading the band. There is also a Jonathan, a Benjamin, and for today's session, a Trystan, for those of you wondering where the harmonies are coming from in this mini-concert. The members of The Beths were studying jazz at Auckland University when they founded the band in 2015. Since releasing their debut EP, 'Warm Blood', the group has attracted much attention and praise, including opening up for Death Cab...

Duration:00:15:47

Catching Up With Citizen Cope

5/3/2019
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I asked Clarence Greenwood what his 8-year-old daughter thought of his job as a professional musician. He said, "When she was really young, she asked one of her mom's friends why do people stop her daddy?" The joys of parenthood. It's one of many things that's kept Greenwood, better known by his stage name, Citizen Cope, busy over the last seven years. That's the last time he released an album, 2012's 'One Lovely Day'. Cope has always done things his own way, like abandoning major labels in...

Duration:00:30:41

Patty Griffin On Restoring Her Voice And Her Soul

5/1/2019
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Patty Griffin had written only one song for a new album when her breast cancer diagnosis changed everything. The drugs and radiation she took in were so physically depleting that she lost her voice. And although Patty's had a long career in music that includes winning a Grammy, she was left wondering whether she should continue making music at all. Patty wrote songs throughout her cancer treatment and, after getting her voice back, returned to the studio to record them. The result was a...

Duration:00:29:50

The Cranberries' Last Album Celebrates The Life Of Dolores O'Riordan

4/26/2019
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The Cranberries were one of the most successful groups to emerge from Ireland. The members, Dolores O'Riordan as lead vocalist, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler, were in the studio working on what is now their final studio album when vocalist, O'Riordan died suddenly in January 2018. The band, with the blessing of the O'Riordan family, completed the record as a testament to the work of all members. "You know, she had been recently divorced and she had, you...

Duration:00:18:25

Anna Tivel's Songs Are Mini Movies With Unlikely Stars

4/26/2019
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On her wonderful new album 'The Question', Anna Tivel zooms in on the kinds of people who don't usually get the red carpet treatment and makes them the stars of her songs. From the janitor sweeping up garbage at the theater late at night to a mother experiencing homelessness, Tivel's characters are so vivid and nuanced that each song could sustain its own feature film. By the end of any given tune, you care deeply about the subject and the singer. Tivel is based in Portland, Oregon, where...

Duration:00:32:27

Bob Mould Reflects On Albums He Loved As A Youth With 'Sunshine Rock'

4/23/2019
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We welcome back an influential and iconic musician to the punk and hardcore scene, Bob Mould. Blazing trails in the '80s with Hüsker Dü, in the '90s with Sugar and for the last 25 years, Mould has even had a successful solo career. His latest album, 'Sunshine Rock', is an intentional look away from the politics of now and instead a look back to the albums he love as a youth. He'll talk about all of that and perform songs from different stages of his career in this session.

Duration:00:34:59

Good Times With Guster!

4/22/2019
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Guster's latest album, 'Look Alive', is a trippy and textured twist on everything you might already love about the band. Lead singer Ryan Miller and drummer Brian Rosenworcel dropped by to talk about the making of the album, which included three producers, Leo Abrahams, John Congleton and Collin DuPuis, as well as a very fruitful visit to synthesizer and keyboard heaven, a.k.a. Canada's National Music Centre. Ryan and Brian muse about the Leonard Cohen vs. Bob Dylan philosophies of...

Duration:00:35:18

Josh Ritter Performs Stripped Down Versions of 'Fever Breaks'

4/19/2019
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Twenty years into his career, it's safe to say Josh Ritter is a master songwriter and musician. But while making his latest album, 'Fever Breaks', he felt nervous. Ritter had been making music with generally the same small group of people, The Royal City Band, for most of his career. But this time, he decided to switch it up and have his friend and fellow songwriter Jason Isbell produce the new record. Isbell brought his band the 400 Unit on board, and they headed to the legendary RCA Studio...

Duration:00:52:08

Persian Musicians And A Parisian Monastery: Making Glen Hansard's 'This Wild Willing'

4/15/2019
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Glen Hansard has a new album, but not the album he initially intended on making. Glen wrote much of the album while staying at a monastery in Paris. The record, titled 'This Wild Willing', was initially supposed to be a simple, acoustic album. But, that changed after a chance jam session with Persian musicians. "It just completely opened my mind to a new thought process," Glen says. "And I asked them instinctively would they be interested in coming to the studio with me to do some...

Duration:00:29:14

Nilüfer Yanya Has A Very Cool Voice

4/8/2019
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Rising star Nilüfer Yanya caught so much well-deserved buzz with her first two EPs, it was difficult for her to carve out time to write a full-length debut album. But the Londoner has done it, and her debut, 'Miss Universe', out now, shows off the catchy melodies and grounded guitar playing that first earned Yanya attention, not to mention her unique and stunning voice. Yanya has been writing songs since she was a kid and she explains how an early guitar teacher helped her find the courage...

Duration:00:25:56

Cautious Clay's Bold Leap

4/5/2019
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Cautious Clay makes magnetic and cool R&B that features his honeyed voice and his skills on the saxophone. The first instrument he picked up as a kid was the flute, all thanks to a case of mistaken instrument identity that involves the movie "Aladdin". In this session, Joshua Karpeh, who records as Cautious Clay, shares that story, reflects on his decision to leave real estate to pursue music full time, and explains how being raised by a single mom who made her own bold career change when he...

Duration:00:28:01

The Suitcase Junket Is A Master Of Musical Imagination

4/3/2019
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Dried animal bones, thrift store cutlery, gas cans, baby shoes and yes, a suitcase. Matt Lorenz, who records as The Suitcase Junket, has turned all these found objects and more into a one-man band setup unlike anything we've ever seen. In this unusual session, Lorenz explains how it all works and performs songs from his album, 'Mean Dog Trampoline', which comes out April 5 and features lyrics just as creative and unique as the instruments he plays. Lorenz also shares how he pulls songs out...

Duration:00:27:43