World Cafe

Weeknights at 7pm
  • Hosted by Talia Schlanger

The premier public radio showcase for contemporary music serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country. 

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.

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