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World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9 p.m.

World Cafe launched in 1991. Distributed by NPR to more than 200 U.S. radio stations and heard by nearly 600,000 listeners each week, World Cafe is known by artists, appreciative audiences, and the radio and music industries as an influential source for music discovery.

The two-hour daily program features a mix of artist interviews with in-studio performances by both established and emerging artists. The music selection encompasses singer-songwriters, classic rock, indie rock, Americana, alt-country, blues, world music, R&B and soul. As the nation’s most listened-to public radio music program, its impact on the careers and audience awareness of thousands of artists is immeasurable.

Ways to Connect

Title tracks often capture the mood, vibe and direction of an album.

Things are very different in 2020, and maybe David Longstreth had a hunch when he started work on the new project from the Dirty Projectors, a band with a lineup that has consistently rotated around him over the last 20 years. They jettisoned the traditional album format for a series of five EPs.

In 2013, Ondara got a green card. He packed up his things in Nairobi, Kenya, where he grew up and moved to Minnesota, because that's where his hero, Bob Dylan, was born. In the years since, Ondara — formerly J.S.

Around the country, many communities are struggling with the effects of the pandemic, economic uncertainty and civil unrest. But despite the tremendous challenges, there are still steady broadcasts coming out of our treasured public radio music stations. Since March, they haven't missed a beat. With some DJs working from home and others having to go to work at their stations, they provide a much needed resource: a respite from the news, a friendly voice that fills a room, the sound of hope that one day this stressful time will be behind us and of course, music.

Are you someone who believes that people can fundamentally change, or do you think we just are who we are? If you chose the former, you've got something in common with my guest today. Perfume Genius is led by artist Mike Hadreas, and today you will hear him talk about his belief that everyone has the ability to profoundly change who they are and how he himself has experienced change over the last couple of years.

Sitting down over Zoom to chat from her home in Murray, Ky., S.G. Goodman's got her dog by her side and seltzer in her cup.

Even if you're not familiar with Jonathan Wilson's music, you may have heard his work before.

Rufus Wainwright has been making music pretty much his entire life. It's almost as if he were destined to do it, considering his pedigree: Rufus is the son of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigle; his sister, musician Martha Wainwright; his half-sister, singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche.

One of the best things about summer time is the live shows, right? Concerts! Music festivals! But this summer is going to feel a little different after most shows have been canceled due to the pandemic.

So today, World Cafe is bringing live music to you with an imaginary music festival of all live tracks. And since it's imaginary, it means we were able to "book" anyone we wanted — RUSH, Aretha Franklin, Wilco and Jackson Browne, all on the same huge lineup.

New York-based singer-songwriter Paul Beaubrun was born into the legendary musical family behind Boukman Eksperyans, one of Haiti's most famous bands. But in recent years, Paul has also made a name for himself as a solo artist thanks in part to two stellar albums under his own name and through collaborations with artists like Jackson Browne, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jenny Lewis and Arcade Fire.

Outlaw country is kind of tricky to define. It's a subgenre that really picked up steam back in the 1970s when artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson wanted to go in a different direction from the polished mainstream country world.

All around the country, NPR member stations are not only a vital source of news but music, arts and culture, too. We are grateful that music stations never stopped providing their unique blend of programming for listeners during this ongoing pandemic. They also provided critical support for their local music economies.

We usually ask our stations to pick songs that are in heavy rotation on their broadcast logs for this series. But given that we're halfway through 2020, we wanted to know our station's favorite songs of the year so far.

Sweet Crude, a six-piece band from New Orleans, combines English and Louisiana French, a dialect that has evolved over hundreds of years, mostly in southern Louisiana. The band's percussive sound is the result of classical training and youthful enthusiasm.

Meg Remy's musical roots are in the DIY punk world, and when she first started making music as U.S. Girls more than a decade ago, she played everything herself. But over time, the sound and lineup of evolved. The new U.S. Girls album, Heavy Light, features up to 20 musicians recording in the studio at the same time.

The sounds of Los Angeles band Triangle Fire may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term "Latin music." But KCSN's The Latin Alt program director Byron Gonzalez defines Latin Alternative as "nothing from the mainstream."

World Cafe has been on the air for almost 30 years. Thirty years of conversations and sessions from all kinds of artists — from big, huge artists to new artists who would eventually go on to become big, huge artists. John Mayer falls into that last category.

Update 5/29 2 p.m. ET: The archive of the Premiere event is temporarily available below.

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has announced the premiere of Unmaking Unfollow The Rules, a behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the extraordinary creation of his new album, Unfollow The Rules, his first in eight years.

Today we're sharing an incredible story that Mikel Jollett, the lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event, has chronicled both in the written word and in song. Jollett had a pretty dramatic childhood: He was born into a cult called Synanon and had to go on the run with biological mother.

Congregating in person for concerts is out of the question this spring and for the foreseeable future, so music fans have gotten used to watching performers livestream from home. What's less obvious is that segments of the Nashville music community that work out of view have been equally resourceful in finding virtual stopgaps during lockdown.

If you've watched any livestreamed shows or concerts during self-isolation or done any video chatting at all, you know that there can be challenges: when someone's stuck on mute, or there's a bad connection, or there are awkward pauses, or if people talk over each other.

Each month, NPR member stations share the tunes that they can't get enough of. In spite of the uncertainties that plague the world outside, April brought us "Shameika," a new Real Estate track that features Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath, the latest from virtuosic nu-jazz collaborators Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes, a stunning Nirvana cover from Amber Mark and more.

All songs from this month's Heavy Rotation are available to stream on the Spotify playlist at the bottom of this page.


You might not be able to pack your bag, get on an airplane and jet off to some new exciting place right now, but don't worry, you can still travel and explore here with World Cafe Sense of Place. In this series, we take you deep into one city's music scene, and today, we're kicking off our sessions from Los Angeles, with more to come every Friday in May.

Steve Earle knows how to tell a story. Talking to him is a whirlwind of names and places, moments that changed him, songs that moved him, lots of laughs, sharp observations and little bits of wisdom. He's someone who knows the value of storytelling as a way to find our shared humanity.

While Nashville's standard studio music-making processes remain at a quarantined standstill, here's another roundup of compelling new and recent music from visitors, part-timers, newcomers and lifers alike.


Lately — and maybe you've felt like this too — the passage of time feels weird. Whether you're working every day or you're stuck at home (or both), with our regular routines interrupted, it's hard to know sometimes what day it is. So, every so often we're doing away with the idea of time altogether here on World Cafe and taking you back into the archives to bring you Classic World Cafe sessions.

In 2019, singer-songwriter Anthony D'Amato spent a month living in New Orleans and made an EP called Five Songs From New Orleans. He recorded it in the 19th century house he was living in with some local musicians and acoustic instruments.

Today has been officially declared Public Radio Music Day across the country. It's a day to celebrate public radio, music and the people who love and support it. We're proud to be a part of the longstanding public radio tradition of helping you discover new artists, supporting the weird and wonderful and diving deep into the artists you love while going off the beaten musical path — and, as we discovered while doing some crate digging here at World Cafe, it's a love that goes both ways.

Thursday, April 16 has been officially declared Public Radio Music Day to celebrate the role that non-commercial music stations play in the lives of both artists and listeners. Here at World Cafe, we've decided to have some fun by filling the entire two hours of our radio broadcast with songs that mention the radio.

Sometimes, even when you think you have everything perfectly planned out, life can be unpredictable. New Orleans artist Maggie Koerner wasn't looking for a career in music; in fact, she was on her way to getting her master's in child psychology.

A couple years ago, Caroline Rose made a big impression with the release of her third album, Loner. It was a big departure for her: Up until then she'd usually been categorized as a folk artist, but Loner was a foray into power pop, punk, and electronic music. It was hailed by critics as her best work yet.

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