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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

Stretch & Bobbito: Rappin' with the Stars

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:11:00 -0400

Before Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, Busta Rhymes and The Fugees were stars, they were guests on a 90s college radio show hosted by DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia. Stretch and Bobbito are now back with a new NPR podcast called What's Good. They tell stories about interviewing Stevie Wonder and Dave Chappelle in 2017, and hanging with hip hop's future stars before they were famous back in the 90s.

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Simon Raymonde is back making music

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:11:00 -0400

This is the story of Simon Raymonde, member of Cocteau Twins in the 80's and 90's and for 20 years the owner of the very successful Bella Union record label reprioritizing his musical life in light of the discovery of a brain tumor. That has lead him to a new band Lost Horizons with drummer Richard Thomas and the collaborative album Ojala. The new music is surprising, inventive and some of his best work. His past life with Cocteau Twins and signing artists like Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty to Bella Union is fascinating.

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The Dreamy Harmonies of Overcoats

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:11:00 -0400

Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell are vocally intertwined in a way that you often only hear from people who are related. Their sister-like bond started relatively recently though, when the pair met at Wesleyan college and started singing covers together. By their Senior year they opened up to each other enough to delve into some very personal songwriting. The resulting debut album is called Young. It features coming of age stories, where growing pains sound a little less painful or at least less lonely, in harmony.

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Chuck Berry's Son Reveals the Father Behind the Guitar

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:11:00 -0400

Rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry died this past March, and in June, his decades-in-the-making final album called Chuck came out. While many revere Berry as a musician, his son, Charles Berry Jr, saw him as only a son can. He idolized his hard working dad's dedication to the stage, learned the guitar as a part of his touring band, and figured out that there were some things it was better not to take after him in – as Charles Jr explained it, despite his father being famous for some great songs about cars, "My dad was probably one of the worst drivers on this planet. His driving skills were the equivalent of um, someone um, riding a rollercoaster without a seatbelt on. It was always a thrill." Charles Berry Jr shares those memories and more.

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Brother Ali on Hip Hop, Islam and Being Albino

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:11:00 -0400

Normally we wouldn't introduce a musician by describing what they look like or their religion. But for Minneapolis-based hip hop artist Brother Ali, it's all intertwined. On his latest album All the Beauty in This Whole Life Brother Ali shares stories about that time as a kid when his mom dyed his hair so he'd look less albino and the fears he has for his own black son as a potential victim of violence. Brother Ali visited the Cafe to perform in June while he was observing Ramadan. He talked about fasting on tour, choosing Islam as a teen and how he has arrived at seeing the beauty in everything he's been through.

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Songhoy Blues: Out of Exile Comes Résistance

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:11:00 -0400

In 2012 Islamist militants took over Northern Mali, causing a massive political crisis and enacting a ban on music. Out of this backdrop Songhoy Blues was born. Lead singer Aliou Touré met his three bandmates (2 of whom had also escaped crisis in the North) in Mali's capital city of Bamako. They started playing music together to entertain and comfort their fellow refugees. In 2015 they released a highly acclaimed debut, Music in Exile. As Aliou will share, the state of Mali has changed from the time they made their last album, and so in turn, has the message in their music. Their latest release is called Résistance and reflects Mali's vibrant sense of life and love of song.

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Waxahatchee – A Break-up Album for Everyone

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:11:00 -0400

Katie Crutchfield's new Waxahatchee album Out in the Storm came after the end of a difficult relationship but she wants listeners to focus on is how the songs touch their own experiences, not the particulars of her life. She talks about that, and the support twin sister Allison gave her on this record, as their creative relationship has evolved over the years. The pair have previously worked together in their early band PS Eliot and Katie has lent her talents to Allison's solo projects.

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Sherman Holmes: "Rock 'em on Saturday and save 'em on Sunday"

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 08:15:00 -0400

For decades, Sherman Holmes was a member of the trio the Holmes Brothers with his real brother, Wendell, and with Popsy Dixon who was like a brother. But in 2015, he lost both his bandmates. Sherman talks about finding the courage to go on and performs music from his solo debut The Richmond Sessions. He also shares stories about his childhood in Virginia and his early musical days in the clubs as well as at church where the motto was "rock 'em on Saturday and save 'em on Sunday".

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Jei Beibi! Mexico's Café Tacvba are still breaking ground

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:31:00 -0400

Café Tacvba's 1994 album Re is consistently ranked among the greatest Latin albums, and considered a groundbreaking contribution to the rock en español movement. Their latest album Jei Beibi features the diversity of sounds and influences the band is known for incorporating – from rock to bubblegum pop to electronica to funk and of course, Mexican and Latin influences. The four members of Café Tacvba perform live music and talk about 25 years of breaking sonic ground on this Latin Roots edition of the World Cafe.

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Feist Indulges in Pleasure After Tough Times

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 13:31:00 -0400

Taking some time away from music, Feist wasn't sure she still wanted to write in the difficult period before her new album Pleasure. As the Canadian singer shares, the record's title came from a period where she felt anything BUT pleasure. Hear her explain how she found her way out of the funk and what method she used to keep herself going through the creative process - it's something that she learned she had in common with The Grapes of Wrath author John Steinbeck.

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