World Cafe | WGLT

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

As a World Cafe host, there's one question I'm asked more than any other: Who has been your favorite person to interview? My answer: Vince Gill. And while it's not the answer I expected, I can't think of more thoughtful and kind storyteller than Vince.

This past July, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia played host to the annual Nuevofest, an all-ages concert celebrating Latin American music and culture. Presented by AfroTaino Productions in collaboration with WXPN, the daylong event featured performances from Los Rivera Destino, Yanga, Kevin Johansen and more.

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.

In the lyrics to one of 1999's most popular songs, Santana's "Smooth," Rob Thomas repeats the words "Let's don't forget about it." Twenty years on, I'm betting that your memory hasn't faded, no matter how hard you might have tried.

When Madison Cunningham was in her late teens, she moved from Orange County, Calif., to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of being a songwriter. It's something that she's been working at since the age of 4. She's also been singing for almost as long.

This past July, the annual Nuevofest, an all-ages, day-long concert celebrating Latin American music, was held at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Presented by AfroTaino Productions in collaboration with WXPN, the concert featured eight artists with musical roots from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Panama.

This past July, the annual Nuevofest, an all-ages concert celebrating Latin American music, was held at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Presented by AfroTaino Productions in collaboration with WXPN, the concert featured eight artists with musical roots from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Panama.

Buddy and Julie Miller's latest album is called Breakdown on 20th Ave. South and yes, that's a real address and yes, it refers to a real-life car breakdown that needed to be repaired. The songs on the album address that.

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.

Girl group vocal pop has evolved across many generations, without always getting its due as a legitimate musical tradition. Thanks to gendered, rock-centric notions of artistry, people have tended to overlook the creative labor and performing precision it takes to not just polish a multi-voice sound and repertoire, but present a cohesive and engaging group identity.

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!

Every month, Heavy Rotation features the best songs from public radio stations across the country. This month's list includes upbeat folk from Gruff Rhys, an electronica cut from Octo Octa, and a new track from Cigarettes After Sex.


"This is a marvelous thing..."

It was about a year ago when Steve Perry said these words to me towards the end of our conversation for World Cafe. I've thought about the exercise he proposed next many times during the year that followed. So as I say farewell on this, my final day as the host of World Cafe, let's do it together now. It starts, as he told me, with picking a song you love:

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.

Earlier this year, World Cafe host Talia Schlanger announced that she is leaving World Cafe in order to pursue new creative endeavors.

In this special dispatch from Paris, Keren Ann shows us around the artistic neighborhood Montmartre, which has inspired a lot of her writing and is the place she calls home, even though she's lived in many different places. (She was born in Israel, grew up for a bit in the Netherlands and lived in New York City.)

Pascal Danaë was born just outside of Paris and the first time he went to the French overseas region Guadeloupe, he was given the "Letter of Freedom" that belonged to his ancestor, Louise Danaë. She was freed from slavery in 1841 at 27 years old. At the time, she had four children, one of whom was Pascal's grand grandfather.

There may be more theremins than pieces of furniture in Marc Chouarain's apartment on the classic Parisian street Rue Montorgeil. The multi-instrumentalist, film composer and rare instrument enthusiast believes he has one of the biggest theremin collections in the world and invited us over to learn about the the very first electronic instrument.

Lisa-Kaindé Díaz and Naomi Díaz are twin sisters who make music as Ibeyi. Growing up, the twin sisters split their time between Cuba and France. The music they make now delivers West-African and Afro-Cuban influence through an electronic filter you can feel deeply in your bones, and the blend between their voices is nothing short of spectacular.

This summer, The Raconteurs released its first new album in 11 years.

Bruce Hornsby has an appetite for the unusual that may surprise those who know him best for his 1986 smash hit "The Way It Is." His latest album, Absolute Zero, features a "bitonal pop song" where Hornsby plays in different keys with each hand.

Michelle Zauner has an incredibly rich creative life.

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 20th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of daytime industry panels.

You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can sometimes glean a little bit about an artist by the track listing on the cover of their album.

"It's soul music without the sex," says Bruce Watson, general manager of the stalwart Mississippi indie label Fat Possum, of the new, gospel-focused imprint that he and Big Legal Mess Recordings are just getting underway.

Ian Noe has an incredible way with words. On his debut album, they are not the most uplifting or pleasant. They're a reflection of what he's seen growing up and living in rural Kentucky.

Craig Finn is one of the most eloquent storytellers in music. The people at the heart of his songs are filled with emotions and often flaws. As he says, he's interested in the high and the hangover.

Nashville's star-making machine has been the subject of countless articles, several films and six seasons of a prime-time soap opera — but there are plenty of emerging music-makers who operate at the fringes of that world, or well beyond it. Some value indie-style self-reliance, while others tap into popular movements that transcend geography. Here's a roundup of some of these artists' compelling recent offerings, in the midst of perfecting their angles on an array of styles.

Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Adrian Quesada was just about to get in the car after having lunch with a producer friend in Austin when he casually tossed out the question, "Oh hey! By the way, do you know anybody who would, like, sing on these songs?"

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