World Cafe Words and Music from WXPN

By NPR

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Description

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

Episode Date
Vampire Weekend Hits On Complicated Relationships And Identity
1431
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.
Oct 15, 2019
Shawn Colvin Goes Acoustic With 'Steady On'
1813
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".
Oct 14, 2019
Tamino Embraces His Voice And A More Delicate Sound
1130
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."
Oct 11, 2019
Geek Out With 'Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass'
1508
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.
Oct 07, 2019
Mattiel's 'Satis Factory' Is Delightfully Unique
1067
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.
Oct 02, 2019
Raphael Saadiq Sends A Universal Message On 'Jimmy Lee'
1566
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.
Oct 02, 2019
Brittany Howard Is Seamless From The Studio To The Stage
2126
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.
Sep 20, 2019
Talia Schlanger Welcomes New 'World Cafe' Host, Raina Douris
1025
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!
Sep 20, 2019
Marc Chouarain On Pulling Music Out Of Thin Air
448
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. The theremin was invented in 1920 by scientist Lev Sergeyevich Termen, also known as Léon Theremin, and was originally used in very serious classical contexts before it came to signify plot twists in sci-fi films. To play the theremin, you don't touch the instrument itself, but rather manipulate the electromagnetic fields it creates. As Marc explains, it's "like pinching a string in the air." While that may sound like magic, it involves an incredible amount of musicality and control, which I learned as Chouarain gave me my first lesson.
Sep 17, 2019
Jack White And Brendan Benson On The Raconteurs' Return
2106
This summer, The Raconteurs released its first new album in 11 years. Called 'Help Us Stranger', it's the crunchy rock and roll manifestation of four musicians with undeniable chemistry — Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler. We recently sat down with Jack White and Brendan Benson to talk about their long-standing friendship and mutual admiration. It all began in the late '90s where, before The White Stripes took off, Benson was the first of their peers in the Detroit garage rock scene to get signed to a major record label. Benson shares what happened when he tried to help give White's then-burgeoning band a boost. 'Help Us Stranger' marks the first Raconteurs album recorded at White's studio in Nashville and the band's first since Benson got sober. White discusses reining in his unbridled onstage energy when recording with a band and reflects on his tendency to make jokes that can get him into trouble with the media. White and Benson also share the advice they would give to their younger songwriter selves.
Sep 16, 2019