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Preview: NPR: World Cafe Words and Music from WXPN Podcast

World Cafe Words and Music from WXPN

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

Copyright: Copyright 2016 WXPN University of Pennsylvania

Joe Henry's Many Musical Hats

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 06:50:00 -0500

Henry has produced music for the likes of Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Hansard, Aimee Mann, Solomon Burke, Bettye LaVette and Meshell Ndegeocello. He visits the Cafe to talk about his prolific career, including the time Madonna turned one of his demos into a big hit. Henry also performs live music from his latest solo album Thrum, and breaks down the process of producing the same song for two very different World Cafe alumni - Rose Cousins and Lizz Wright.

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Margo Price Sings It Like It Is

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 06:50:00 -0500

With her 2016 debut Midwest Farmer's Daughter, Price revealed her star power and songwriting skills, as well as the depths of her personal struggle. Her life story was intimately intertwined with the subjects of her songs: being broke, pawning her diamond wedding ring and selling her car, spending a weekend in jail after drinking too much, the sadness of losing one of her twin baby boys two weeks after he was born. With the follow-up, 2017's All American Made, she continues to write about what really matters to her, but now the stories speak to bigger social and political issues - including the hardships faced by small-town US farmers and gender inequity in the music industry. She reflects on not being afraid to put everything into her music, no matter how potentially unflattering or possibly sensitive.

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Bedouine on Solitude, Syria & Reality TV

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 07:26:00 -0500

Azniv Korkejian, aka Bedouine, was born in Aleppo, Syria and lived on an American compound in Saudi Arabia until she was 10. Korkejian talks about the difference between life inside those compound walls and life outside in the rest of Saudi Arabia, how she adjusted to her family's move to the US when she was a kid and how she's translated her nomadic spirit into a very charming self-titled debut as Bedouine. She also reveals what it was like to work as a sound editor for reality television shows, and performs live in studio with producer Gus Seyffert.

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Christmas with Elvis: Priscilla Presley

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 07:00:00 -0500

You're invited to Graceland for the holidays! Priscilla Presley tells stories about the first gifts she ever exchanged with Elvis, how they spent Christmas as a married couple, how that changed when they became new parents, and what it's like for her to hear Elvis songs now. We'll also listen to music from a newly arranged album - Christmas with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, for which Priscilla was the Executive Producer.

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Jidenna: From "Classic Man" to Chief

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 07:45:00 -0500

There's an energy and attention to detail in everything the artist Jidenna does, from the swanky way he dresses to his explosive dancing. It's no surprise that Jidenna collaborates with Janelle Monae and is signed to her label Wondaland Records. Jidenna had a huge hit with 2015's "Classic Man", and in the time since he has released the full-length album Long Live the Chief and an EP called Boomerang. Jidenna tells stories about the time his family was ambushed in Nigeria when he was a kid, why he rejected Harvard and he performs live.

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Curtis Harding: Son Of a Preacher Woman

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:25:00 -0500

Curtis Harding makes soul music that lifts you up - just like his mom did when Curtis was a kid. She was a gospel singer and traveling evangelist who taught him to sing on the road. Now Curtis lives in Atlanta, sings back-ups for Cee Lo Green, and has a new record called Face Your Fear. Curtis Harding performs live in studio and talks to the Cafe's David Dye.

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That Voice Though. Metric's Emily Haines

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:25:00 -0500

On Choir of the Mind, the new solo album by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton, Emily strips away the wailing guitars and radical synths that usually surround her as lead singer of Metric and instead lets her voice do the playing, singing parts that normally would be performed by musicians. In this session, Emily performs live at a piano. If there are people or noises around you, kick them out or tell them you'll be back in a bit. Emily's voice deserves your full attention and best headphones.

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Greek Australian Lute Punk: Xylouris White

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 08:15:00 -0500

Xylouris White are an odd couple that works. Xylouris is George Xylouris - he comes from a famed family of musicians based in a mountain shepherding village on the Greek island of Crete and he has been a professional musician since he was 12. White is Jim White – an Australian post-punk drummer with a deft touch that can go from thunderous to tender on a dime. Jim held it down in the instrumental trio Dirty Three, and has also backed Cat Power and PJ Harvey. Jim and George met and started playing together more than 25 years ago in Melbourne Australia. But they formalized the duo as Xylouris White in 2014, with their debut album Goats. Xylouris White has a new album coming out next month January called Mother. But they came and visited us at the Cafe recently to perform songs from their 2016 album Black Peak – enjoy this performance only session!

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Mindbending Cumbia: Combo Chimbita in Concert

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 08:10:00 -0500

Psychedelic, trippy and downright freaky, Combo Chimbita use Cumbia as a building block to create what they call tropical futurism. They embrace an inventive combination of rhythms and sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. A quartet of first generation New Yorkers whose backgrounds are Colombian & who grew up loving heavy metal, psychedelic funk & soul, the band's debut release is a concept album called Abya Yala. It came out this summer and with this music only episode you get a chance to hear a taste of it live.

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Bette Smith Bets Big

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:10:00 -0500

With her 7-piece band in tow, Bette Smith delivers a performance as big as her ambitions. Bette always wanted to be a singer, but her dad – a church choir director - disapproved of singing secular music. After he died, Bette decided to go for it and took every opportunity she could to sing. Bette found fans in Ray Charles shortly before he died, and in Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers who produced her debut album Jetlagger.

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