World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9PM

Hosted by radio veteran and music enthusiast Talia Schlanger , World Cafe presents up to ten hours each week of new and significant music and the artists who create it.

Serving up a blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country, live performances, and intimate interviews, the two-hour daily program is produced by WXPN-FM in Philadelphia.

In this session of World Cafe we welcome Brother Ali, a Minneapolis-based artist who's been delivering socially conscious hip-hop for nearly two decades. He's also white, an albino and Muslim.

Tristen Gaspadarek and Buddy Hughen share a house in the graveyard of a golf club, where they make music that captures the stubborn hope and creeping obsolescence at the heart of modern life. Tristen, who performs and records under her first name, was raised in Chicago but moved to Nashville a decade ago. There she met the guitarist and producer Hughen, and the pair was soon collaborating.

Picture what would happen if Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin met Ali Farka Touré in a garage in West Africa, and you've got an idea of what my guests today sound like. The band is Songhoy Blues. They're from Mali, and their new album is titled Résistance.

I talked with the band's lead singer, Aliou Touré. He is originally from the northern Mali city of Gao, but fled south after Islamist militants and rebels took over parts of northern Mali in 2012, causing a massive political crisis and banning music.

Waxahatchee is the brainchild and band name of singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield. She visited World Cafe Live the day she released her new album, Out In The Storm, to perform four songs and chat about the record's origins.

The record was inspired by the end of a relationship, which makes talking about it in interviews a little tricky.

My guest today has just released his debut solo album, and he's in his 70s! His name? Sherman Holmes.

Now, of course, he's not a new kid on the block. He's had a decades-long career in The Holmes Brothers with his real brother Wendell Holmes, and Willie "Popsy" Dixon, who was like a brother.

Café Tacvba's four core members have been making music together since the early 1990s. Their debut record from 1992 just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and their 1994 album, Re, is consistently ranked among the greatest Latin rock albums ever. It's considered a groundbreaking contribution to a genre coined "Rock en Espanol."

For fans who have been following Manchester Orchestra for the past decade and change, the sound of the band's new record, A Black Mile To The Surface, is a surprise. With early releases like I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child, Simple Math and Cope, the band built their following on loud guitars and big emotions. Their latest is full of emotion, but finds that feeling through the songs' stories. It's sweeping, cinematic and really quite beautiful.

Sheer Mag is a five-piece rock band from Philadelphia that sounds like it's headlining the EnormoDome, but comes from a busted-up building called the Nut House that's also home to slugs and roaches.

Beginning at noon ET on Sunday, July 30, you can watch Drive-By Truckers, Davy Knowles, The Record Company, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Adia Victoria and more perform live from day three of WXPN's 2017 XPoNential Music Festival.

Beginning at noon ET on Saturday, July 29, you can watch Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Strand Of Oaks, Rhiannon Giddens, The Suffers, Foxygen, Xenia Rubinos and more perform live form day two WXPN

Watch Angel Olsen And Offa Rex Perform Live

Jul 28, 2017

Update: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to bring you Friday Night's live webcast of Angel Olsen & Offa Rex. We'll be back on Saturday with a live webcast from XPN Fest at 12pm ET.


Beginning at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, July 28, you can watch Angel Olsen and Offa Rex (The Decemberists & Olivia Chaney) perform during the first night WXPN's XPoNential Music Festival.

ALA.NI On World Cafe

Jul 27, 2017

In this session, we are joined by ALA.NI, a British singer-songwriter whose debut album, You & I, is a remarkable update on the cabaret tradition.

The London-born, Paris-based performer was surprisingly candid during our World Cafe interview:

The XPoNential Music Festival, presented by Subaru, offers an unparalleled experience for music discovery. With a lineup of established and up-and-coming artists (many of whom have recently performed World Cafe sessions), the XPoNential Music Festival has been pleasing audiences of all ages for more than a decade at the Camden Waterfront in Camden, N.J.

The country-music business is show business, whether the bright lights shine at the Grand Ole Opry or at a small dance hall on a lonely Western highway. Mark Wystrach, lead singer for Midland, learned the ropes of that business working at his parents' restaurant and dance hall, the Steak Out, in Sonoita, Ariz. Later he became an actor in Los Angeles, where he met Jess Carson, an Oregon farmer's son, and Cameron Duddy, a Hollywood kid whose love of music had led him to country, too.

Feist On World Cafe

Jul 25, 2017

Leslie Feist's latest album, Pleasure, is gritty, defiant and intimate in a way that's different from anything else we've heard from her. And when she wrote it, she was having a hard time feeling — well, pleasure. She explains in this session that she chose that word as a way to try and talk herself out of the dark feelings at the other extreme.

I'm willing to bet you've never seen a "Best Of" list quite like this one. "Turning The Tables" ranks the 150 greatest albums made by women. It's a partnership between NPR Music and Lincoln Center, led by Lincoln Center's Jill Sternheimer and our Nashville correspondent, Ann Powers.

Ann stopped by World Cafe to share some of the artists that made the list and to talk about the No. 1 album. She'll also reveal surprises, controversial picks and one solid conclusion: "Every single one of these albums, they are all amazing."

Recorded in Music City at RCA's legendary Studio A, Jason Isbell's latest album, The Nashville Sound, tackles issues like race and privilege, anxiety, sobriety, hope and family. (Isbell is married to Amanda Shires, a talented fiddle player and singer-songwriter who is also a member of Isbell's band, The 400 Unit; they have a toddler named Mercy.)

Every month, NPR Music asks our friends from public radio stations across the country — hosts, music directors and writers — for the new songs they simply can't stop listening to. Sometimes they're hot tracks that have dropped just the week before, and sometimes they're songs that have taken a couple months to slow-burn into our memories. Either way, the result is a mix that's perfect for the moment.

This week, World Cafe digs into the archives for some of its best sessions from the last several months — conversations and performances that were so good we decided to bring them back for a second listen. You'll hear sessions with Father John Misty, Alison Krauss, David Crosby and more.

Fleet Foxes' lead singer, Robin Pecknold, says the band's new album, Crack-Up, is the kind of record he's always wanted to make. But it took a minute — six years, actually. The last Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues, came out in 2011 and was a huge success. But after touring that record, at a point where bands traditionally head back to the studio to try and keep the momentum going, Fleet Foxes took a break. And that led to a few changes.

This Sunday, July 16, watch a live stream of Nuevofest 2017, a Latin-music festival hosted by Philadelphia's WXPN and AfroTaíno Productions. You can catch all the action here via VuHaus, public radio's music-discovery video platform.

Find an approximate schedule of performances below; all listings are in Eastern time.

If you stumble into the right basement in Nashville, Tenn., you will hear some of the most inventive and lovely psychedelic rock being made just about anywhere. Sun Seeker is one of Music City's freshest new rock bands. It's inspired by 1960s legends like The Band and '90s rockers like Pavement, creating a unique blend of Southern whimsy and fuzzy, melodic rock.

After 33 years of David Letterman doing the job, it was an honor to get the chance to introduce Paul Shaffer myself. We welcome the former Late Show bandleader to World Cafe to perform with the World's Most Dangerous Band and discuss his life and career.

In this session, Angelica Garcia performs music from her haunting full-length debut, Medicine For Birds. What do we mean by "haunting"? First, the sound: She's got one of those voices that gets under your skin, and a sense of melody that'll make your hairs stand on end. And second, the source: Garcia created the album while living in a 200-year-old Gothic brick home in Virginia she's pretty sure is haunted.

Like to party? Meet Sweet Spirit, a punchy, powerful party band that features up to nine members onstage at any given time. The group's infectious live shows caught the eye of fellow Austinite Britt Daniel from Spoon, who invited Sweet Spirit to open at a bunch of his concerts and championed its full-length debut album, Cokomo, in 2015.

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