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

World Cafe Words and Music from WXPN

From NPR

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

Most Recent Episodes

The Hold Steady Are Sleeping Over

The idea of sleeping on a tour bus, waking up in a different city and playing late night shows to die-hard fans is fun, especially when you're young. When you're a bit older, every night on a tour bus can be tiring instead of enthralling, every new city just as faceless as the last. Enter our old friends, The Hold Steady. Instead of touring traditionally, making that long trek across parts of the country, the band is spending multiple nights in select cities like Chicago, New York and Seattle, bringing a communal vibe to the proceedings. Maybe the next step is a Vegas residency!? In this session, we talk about the benefits of the nontraditional way the band has chosen to record and support their latest studio album, 'Thrashing Thru The Passion', which features Franz Nicolay playing keys on record for the first time since leaving the band back in 2010. We'll hear live recordings featuring Franz and the rest of the band — Bobby Drake, Craig Finn, Tad Kubler, Galen Polivka and Steve Selvidge — and I'll chat with Steve and Craig after we start with a performance of "You Did Good Kid."

The Hold Steady Are Sleeping Over

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How the bird and the bee Reinterpreted Van Halen Classics With No Guitars

Van Halen is quintessential guitar rock. So what happens when an electronic jazz duo of self-avowed fans take on the band's blistering discography? the bird and the bee's latest album, 'Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen', offers an answer: Though the songs will feel familiar to fans of the guitar rock icons, the arrangements are entirely fresh. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin and singer Inara George have done this before with Hall and Oates. But with no guitars in the bird and the bee, Van Halen presents a different type of challenge; ultimately the duo used a creative approach to recreate the melody of some of the greatest rock songs of the late '70s and early '80s. In this session, we'll also talk about the surprising depth in David Lee Roth's lyrics (but maybe not the videos).

How the bird and the bee Reinterpreted Van Halen Classics With No Guitars

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Vampire Weekend Hits On Complicated Relationships And Identity

Today, we've got an interview with Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig about the band's latest album, 'Father of the Bride'. "There is something that truly unites all good songwriting," Ezra tells Talia Schlanger. "It's a type of wit, it's a way with words, it's poetry, it's a sense of humor." All of those elements are present on this record: It's an ambitious collection of 18 songs filled with stories about complicated relationships and identity. 'Father of the Bride' is also the first Vampire Weekend record since founding member and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij announced that he was no longer a member of the band back in 2016. Ezra Koenig is joined by some guests on the album, folks like Steve Lacy from the band The Internet and vocalist Danielle Haim (from the eponymous band). The latter starts our session off on the opening track, "Hold You Now," a song inspired, in part, by classic country duets stylized by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn as well as George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Our interview with Ezra Koenig was recorded backstage before a gig at The Mann Music Center in Philadelphia with our former host Talia Schlanger.

Vampire Weekend Hits On Complicated Relationships And Identity

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Shawn Colvin Goes Acoustic With 'Steady On'

Shawn Colvin was 32 when she released her debut album, 'Steady On', but she'd already been a musician for more than a decade. The record, which launched Colvin's solo recording career, went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. These days, she's celebrating the 30th anniversary of 'Steady On' with a new solo acoustic version of the record, with the songs arranged to capture the way she performs them live today. In this session, we'll talk about what the record means to her, why she chose to re-record it and the inspiration behind he her biggest hit, "Sunny Came Home".

Shawn Colvin Goes Acoustic With 'Steady On'

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Tamino Embraces His Voice And A More Delicate Sound

There's something striking about Tamino when you meet him. The Egyptian-born, Belgium-raised musician has a calm energy, a measured performance style and, quite frankly, a heavenly voice. Although his vocal instrument has been compared to Jeff Buckley's, Tamino himself identifies more with the music of Chris Cornell. He previously played in a punk band before switching sonic paths and embracing a delicate sound that better suits his voice. Tamino hails from a musical family (his grandfather was a famous Egyptian singer and actor and his parents played music as well) and now he continues that tradition with the deluxe edition of his album 'Amir' coming out October 18. In this session, we discuss the record after starting off with a beautiful performance of "Indigo Night."

Tamino Embraces His Voice And A More Delicate Sound

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Geek Out With 'Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass'

Today we're not worthy: Joining us, it's the legendary Rush frontman and bassist, Geddy Lee. While Rush has retired from touring, Geddy's kept busy, cataloging, photographing and writing about his collection of bass guitars for the almost-encyclopedic "Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass". And it's definitely big and beautiful, featuring hundreds of bass guitars, a whole lot of history and in-depth interviews with guys like Adam Clayton of U2 and Robert Trujillo of Metallica. In this session, step into the limelight as we talk all things bass and geek out with Geddy. Plus, hear songs featuring some of his favorite bass players, including John Entwistle.

Geek Out With 'Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass'

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Mattiel's 'Satis Factory' Is Delightfully Unique

There's something delightfully unique about Mattiel's music. A pinch of garage rock, a touch of psychedelia, some galloping honky-tonk and at the lead, Mattiel Brown's powerful and assertive vocals. It's all over her excellent new album, 'Satis Factory'. Mattiel is from Atlanta and if this music thing takes off — which it appears is happening — she's got plans to travel. Where? You'll find out. You'll also find out what the benefit of having a cool day job can be for your rock and roll career.

Mattiel's 'Satis Factory' Is Delightfully Unique

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Raphael Saadiq Sends A Universal Message On 'Jimmy Lee'

Raphael Saadiq is one of the most accomplished musicians in pop and R&B over the last 30 years. He's also one of the most respected. He fronted Tony! Toni! Toné!, has a successful solo career and he's worked as a composer, producer, bassist and vocalist for folks like Elton John, Kenny G, Solange, Ed Sheeran, John Legend and countless others. Saadiq's latest album, 'Jimmy Lee', is named for his brother who passed away when he was younger. In this session, Saadiq talks about why the record took his brothers name, plus he'll dive into some great stories about playing with Prince, Stevie Wonder and more.

Raphael Saadiq Sends A Universal Message On 'Jimmy Lee'

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Brittany Howard Is Seamless From The Studio To The Stage

When you're lucky enough to work at a place where you talk to musicians, you get excited. It's easy to have a good experience talking with the people whose music you enjoy. It's even easier to tell random people how much you enjoyed the company of those musicians and the music they made. The problem, of course, is that it's easy to get hyperbolic and lost in the message. If every artist is the greatest artist that ever came through the doors of World Cafe, then 'great' means very little. So, when I tell you today that you are in for, in my opinion, one of the best performances in this venerable show's history, I am assuredly not being hyperbolic. Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, has just released her debut solo album, 'Jaime', and it's incredible. What's even more amazing are these live performances recorded for the Cafe. For a moment, you may think you're listening to the album. It's just that good.

Brittany Howard Is Seamless From The Studio To The Stage

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Talia Schlanger Welcomes New 'World Cafe' Host, Raina Douris

Earlier this year, World Cafe host Talia Schlanger announced that she is leaving World Cafe in order to pursue new creative endeavors. This week, WXPN announced her successor as Raina Douris, an award-winning radio personality from Toronto, Ontario, coming to WXPN from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), where she was host and writer for the daily live national program 'Mornings' on CBC Music. Though she is sad to be leaving, Talia is thrilled to be handing the show off to an amazing host who she loves listening to and who she knows you will love, too. Talia's last show as host of World Cafe will be Friday, Sept. 27. We wish her all the best in the future and thank her for all of her amazing work. In this interview, you'll hear Talia welcome Raina to the World Cafe airwaves for the very first time!

Talia Schlanger Welcomes New 'World Cafe' Host, Raina Douris

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