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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe ®

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XPN2 - XPoNential Radio

24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

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World Cafe Archives

Join Talia Schlanger as she navigates the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

For online support visit the Listen Live page.

October, 2012 CD of the Month

One thing that’s for sure is that Delta Rae does not lack ambition or appeal on their album Carry the Fire. And simply stated these kids can flat-out sing. The six-piece band, featuring four vocalists, is from North Carolina and they pounce onto the music scene with a collection of songs rooted in their southern upbringing and gospel inspired vocal blend. Carry the Fire is a lively attempt at Americana flavored with plenty of pop sensibility.

credit Pamela Littky The Divine Fits are an indie rock group comprised of Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, and New Bomb Turks’ Sam Brown. A few years ago, Daniel attended a Handsome Furs concert; he and Boeckner have remained friends ever since.
Sidi Touré Sidi Touré is a Songhai blues singer/songwriter who hails from northern Mali. Although Touré had a privileged upbringing growing up in a royal family in Mali, he still knows a thing or two about the blues that has influenced his music.
Dirty Projectors Yale dropout and prolific indie songwriter Dave Longstreth is back with a new CD, Swing Lo Magellan, released July 10. Dirty Projectors had a breakthrough in 2009 with the album Bitte Orca, and released a much-anticpated new album in July on Domino Records.
Eme Alfonso We travel to Cuba today with the first of four shows about the music scene in Havana as part of World Cafe's Sense of Place Havana.
Patterson Hood Southern-style rhythm was always in Patterson Hood's blood. Born in Alabama to David Hood, a bassist for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, young Patterson started writing songs at the age of eight. Within two decades, he would be known as a veteran musical talent writing songs and performing them on nationwide tours with country rock phenomenon Drive-By Truckers. Between 1996 and 2011, Hood and the Truckers would release nine albums, four of which peaked in the top fifty in the US. Not content to rest on his laurels, Patterson began simultaneously producing solo work in 2004.
Kelly Hogan photo credit Neko case Down to earth and very talented, Kelly Hogan is in demand and on the road most of the time. Opening - and singing backup vocals- for Neko Case - Hogan has not had much time to record solo. Her recent release, I Like to Keep Myself In Pain, was her first in ten years (June, 2012 on ANTI Records).
With exclusive live tracks from Alabama Shakes, The Lumineers, Polica, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. Dog and more, it is the best Live At the World Cafe CD yet. Here's the track list.

Live At The World Cafe, Volume 34 Track List

You could call this a side project, an indie-rock super-group or simply a musical experiment, but really Divine Fits stands better as the result of mutual admiration. Spoon frontman Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner shared a love for each other’s music, and once Wolf Parade called it quits the idea of starting a band together quickly became a reality. They recruited drummer/percussionist Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) and started work on their debut album, cleverly titled A Thing Called Divine Fits.

Featured Album of the Week, 8/20/2012 | CD of the Month , 2012

One thing that’s for sure is that Delta Rae does not lack ambition or appeal on their album Carry the Fire. And simply stated these kids can flat-out sing. The six-piece band, featuring four vocalists, is from North Carolina and they pounce onto the music scene with a collection of songs rooted in their southern upbringing and gospel inspired vocal blend. Carry the Fire is a lively attempt at Americana flavored with plenty of pop sensibility.

Minneapolis' Polica played SXSW in March. Urgent, original and genre defying, Polica are absolutely essential in 2012. Their debut album, Give You The Ghost was an XPN Featured Album of the Week earlier this year.
Michael Kiwanuka combines roots and soul with such old-school, retro-sounding verve. He's released three EPs in the last year alone, including one that so impressed Adele, she invited Kiwanuka to tour with her!
Stemming from Oklahoma, roots rocker JD McPherson just released his highly anticipated Rounder Records debut album. His true-blue rockabilly combined with the classic rock sound that will satisfy any purist, packs a punch that leaves audiences enchanted.
Maybe it’s the time of the season. Or maybe it’s the fact that as music lovers we’re overdue for a reggae record that truly strikes a chord. Either way, the new album from reggae icon Jimmy Cliff is one of the season’s brightest and most satisfying albums. The aptly titled Rebirth finds Cliff as spirited as at any point in his career and with a batch of songs that are weaved together with a message of righteousness and hope.
It’s reasonable to ask whether or not Passion Pit was ready for the level of exposure that followed the release of their Chunk of Change EP in 2008, and their subsequent debut Manners. For frontman Michael Angelakos, a musical project that started as a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend evolved rather quickly into a full-time band with significant impact. Passion Pit’s animated brand of electronic, dance-pop thrilled audiences and even found a warm embrace across the media landscape from bloggers and radio to TV and film. So with high expectations and anticipation surrounding their new album, can Passion Pit continue to live up to the hype? Gossamer, their sophomore effort, answers that question with conviction.

As most people probably know the only things closer to Helen Leicht's heart (other than her family and Paul McCartney) are our local musicians. Helen loves having the opportunity to share this music with you, the WXPN audience.

From the archives of the nationally-acclaimed WORLD CAFE® radio show, comes this series of limited edition CDs. This collection of rare, live performances from the most significant musical artists has created over the past 15 years and today is an absolute must-have for music fans nationwide.

Latin Roots on World Cafe

David Dye Latin Roots is a bi-weekly series on the World Cafe program, hosted by David Dye, and made possible by the Wyncote Foundation. In this new series, David Dye explores the vast variety of music from Spanish-speaking countries and people. From the standards like cumbia, mambo and son to Latin rock and even reggaeton, we’ll hear it all.

The series airs every other Thursday during the second hour of the World Cafe program, and will delve into the musical styles and genres of Spanish influence with a rotating series of guests. With each segment, David Dye and his guest will explore two related songs, current and old, and discuss their unique characteristics, how they relate and where they fit into the spectrum of Latin music.

Latin Roots #1: Salsa, With a Difference

Bitmo, photo by Chris Smith Latin music expert, Aaron Luis Levinson sits down with David Dye and shares his take on the music, beat and culture of Salsa. Levinson, a member of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, is a Grammy-winning producer, musician, composer and owner of Range Recording Studios in Ardmore, PA. You'll hear music from Bio Ritmo and Cortijo on today's segment.

Latin Roots will feature other expert guests including Felix Contreras, a reporter and producer for NPR's Arts Desk and the co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's new web-based program about Latin alternative music. Tom Moon will also serve as a guest contributor. Moon is a Music Reviewer for NPR and has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and music across the globe for more than 25 years.

For more World Cafe Latin music moments, and to listen to this session, visit our page at There you will find links to interviews and performances with artists like Juana Molina, Ximena Sarinana, Ana Tijoux and Puerto Plata, as well as a Spotify playlist inspired by each segment currated by the guest.

Latin Roots #2: The Late Resurgence Of Cumbia

To introduce us to a corner of Latin roots music called Cumbia, Grammy-winning producer and record label owner Aaron Levinson is in the studio. Affiliated with a number of professional recording academies and societies, this internationally known musician also owns a recording studio in Ardmore and has consistently received recognition for his work with Latin music. In the studio today, Aaron and David talk about the origin and evolution of Cumbia, including its late resurgence in popularity in New York, and listen to songs by Bomba Estereo and Rodolfo Y Su Tipica.

Cumbia is the manifestation of a melding of cultures, and it originated in Colombia. Mixing the music of native Colombians, slaves from Africa, and Spanish colonizers, Cumbia first rose to prominence in the 1960s on the coasts of Colombia. It made its way across the continents, evolving for Mexican and Peruvian listeners, and eventually reaching the United States in the 21st century. Cumbia enthusiasm was rekindled in Colombia as New York artists began to popularize the historically courtship dance music. In the interview, Aaron and David explore the many forms of Cumbia--from the hip-hop elements in today's cumbia to the geographical understanding of cumbia to traditional Cumbia elements of many drums, claves, guitars, clarinet, and flute.

Vist our page at for the interview and performance, along with a Spotify playlist inspired by this segment.

Latin Roots #3 - The Backbone of Latin Music, Clave

This session of Latin Roots is devoted to all things "clave." Music journalist Tom Moon sat down with our host, David Dye, to discuss the history of clave in Latin Music. Clave, which means code or key, functions as such rhythmically. Tom Moon explains how clave was introduced to Cuba and how it played into different trends and movements within Cuban music. Moon walks us through the Cuban standard, "Bruca Manigua," and the unexpected return to clave in Luis Enrique's "Yo No Se Manana." He also discusses how clave has been incorporated into music outside of the Latin world- from Johnny Otis to Bruce Springsteen.

Tom Moon began his career in music studying professional saxophone at University of Miami's School of Music. He played in back-up bands, orchestras and even cruises, but found himself drawn to the world of music journalism when he started to freelance write for the Miami Herald. Moon went on to write for GQ, Rolling Stone, Vibe and NPR, including All Things Considered and World Cafe. Moon has won multiple awards for his work in music journalism, including a "Heroes" award from the Recording Academy. He has also published a book, "1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die." "1,000 Recordings" is, as Moon puts it, "an exploration" into music from all over the world, including, of course, instances of clave.

Listen to Tom Moon's World Cafe Latin Roots session on
Listen to Tom's essential playlist on Spotify.

Latin Roots #4 - Festejo, Afro-Peruvian music with Novalima

Explore the roots of Afro-Peruvian music with Novalima in this segment of Latin Roots from World Cafe.

Originating in coastal Peru and comprised of contributions from African, Spanish, and South American cultures, festejo takes its name from 'fiesta', the Spanish word for festival. It is often accompanied by a competitive and lively dancing, as well as call-and-response vocals, a celebration put to music and tied to historical roots. In this interview, David Dye talks with Novalima members Grimaldo Del Solar (arranger, artwork, composer, programming) and Alfonso Montesinos (bass) about this 100-year-old style of festejo, and the several different forms it can take through varying rhythms. Festejo has influenced their live improvisations, and inspired Novalima to become less like a studio project and more spontaneous.

The title of Novalima's latest single, "Festejo," takes it's name from this popular form of celebratory Peruvian music.

Check out the Spotify Playlist for Festejo. Listen to the archived session on

Latin Roots #5 - Tumbao

Tom Moon looks at tumbao - what the pianst does, and muntuno - the beat that the other musicians play. Montuno is a kind of syncopated piano vamp often used in traditional Cuban music. A 'vamp' is a repetitive musical accompaniment or phrase, often found in jazz, gospel, and soul. A 'vamp' is to those genres as a 'riff' is to rock music or a 'loop' is to hip hop. The literal translation of montuno is 'from the mountains', and it is often at the heart of Cuban dance music, giving piano players a range of harmonizing phrases to use.

David Dye talks with music journalist Tom Moon as they play a couple of montuno-based songs from well-known artists such as Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Eddie Palmieri. Tom Moon is a well-known writer and musician whose work has been featured in big name publications such as GQ, Rollingstone, and Vibe. He's also a professional saxophonist, and he's received accolades such as the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism award. Given his experience playing Latin music, Moon gives insight into what it takes to reshape traditional music into something new.

Listen to the archived session at And, check out the Tumbao Spotify playlist

Latin Roots #6 - Josh Norek on Latin Hip Hop March 22

On this sixth segment of the Latin Roots music series, the co-host and executive producer of The Latin Alternative - a one hour radio show of Latin funk, hip-hop, and electronica - ( is in the studio to introduce Latin hip hop. Josh Norek is also a musician, producer, and journalist who currently works for the Latin indie label Nacional Records as VP of Business Affairs & Digital Relations. He and David Dye will explore some of the history and current directions of Latin hip hop. Arising first on the West Coast during the '80s and '90s, Latin hip hop was the manifestation of the mixing of cultures. As young members of the Hispanic population became exposed to urban rap sounds and shaped it into their own style, their beats began to spread from LA to the East Coast and then down through Mexico and South America. Artists began to incorporate Spanish language and other genres by turn (such as jazz in the case of Ana Tijoux and klezmer in the case of Norek's Hip Hop Hoodios), and Latin hip hop itself has become an influential musical force across the globe.

In this session, David Dye and Josh Norek explore the cultural dispersion that has helped create Latin hip hop. On both sides of the border, young artists began to sample their parents' music and combine it with the sound of burgeoning hip hop groups such as NWA. Since then, the genre has matured and become an influence in its own right. Norek plays from Tres Delinquentes, who he describes as the first 'post-racial' Latin Hip Hop crew, and also outlines the spread of the genre into South America with a smooth trip-hop arrangement from Ana Tijoux.

Check out the Spotify playlist for The Rise of Latin Hip Hop. Listen to the full session at

Latin Roots #7 - Latin Funk w/ Josh Norek - April 5, 2012

On this seventh segment of the Latin Roots Music Series, Josh Norek is back. The co-host and executive producer of The Latin Alternative - a one hour radio show of Latin funk, hip-hop, and electronica - ( is in the studio to lay down some Latin funk beats and describe the origins of this genre. Norek is also a musician, producer, and journalist who currently works for the Latin indie label Nacional Records as VP of Business Affairs & Digital Relations.

In this World Cafe session, Josh Norek and David Dye explore the cultural roots of Latin funk, a mixing of Latin grooves and Afro-American funk. It's been evolving for over forty years now, arising out of urban centers and the earlier salsa + R&B mixes such as boogaloo. Given the melting pot that is New York, the exposure of young musicians to variants of jazz, soul, funk, and the diversity of Latin rhythms and instrumentation created an environment of experimentation. Norek describes the ties of Latin funk to the Latino pride movement, and plays a song from the famous Latin percussionist Ray Barretto that expresses this pride. Then Norek describes the diversification of Latin funk over the last few decades, and spins a track from the latest retro Latin funk release by Venezuelan outfit Los Amigos.

Check out the Latin Funk Spotify playlist

Angel Band will be playing
XPN's Free At Noon concert series.

Hear a live Friday Concert at 12noon ET each week from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live from the stage at World Cafe Live

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Angel Band From the Santa Monica Pier to Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble, with three solid years of touring under their collective belt, Angel Band has rapidly expanded their following from opening act up to headliner status. No audience has been known to have been unmoved by Angel Band's all-out stage presence, signature rootsy, bluesy Americana songs, superb back-up band and the vocals of leader and lyricist Nancy Josephson and fellow Angels Kathleen Weber and Aly Paige. Initially performing as opening act and backup singers for Josephson's husband, world-class roots musician David Bromberg at Bonnaroo, Merlefest, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and other high profile events, Angel Band has moved up to playing prestigious concert venues on their own. Voted one of the Top 10 Favorite Bands at Bonnaroo, Angel Band are clearly a group on the ascent.

Born and raised in new York City, Nancy Josephson says "I don't ever remember not singing," and was thumping on an acoustic guitar at age six. She learned to play stand-up bass and was a founding member of the all-girl bluegrass group, the Buffalo Gals. After a move to California in the mid 70's she performed with a number of well-known bluegrass and "new grass" performers, including Arlo Guthrie, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick (of the Good Ol' Persons), and The David Bromberg Big Band. She has also sung back-up with Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow, among others.

In 1980, David and Nancy moved to Chicago, where he studied violin making while Nancy sang commercial jingles, joined The Annettes as the only Caucasian in a 30-voice women's choir, raised two young children and switched to visual arts as her main creative outlet. When the city of Wilmington, Delaware asked David and Nancy to become artists in residence in 2002, Nancy initially refrained from joining the bluegrass sessions David organized there, until Bromberg started raving about a mother and sister vocal duo that might accommodate a third voice. "Mainly to satisfy David" Nancy attended the next jam and was hooked by the resultant three-part harmonies. Thus began the formation of Angel Band.

Kathleen Weber comes from a musical family in Philadelphia. She is a four-year veteran of the Angel Band and a lifelong singer; one critic exclaimed "her deep, bluesy voice seems almost out of place in her small frame." You can really hear her influences channeled: Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin and and Alison Krause, among others. Her versatility allows her to move easily between Angel Band's low down and dirty and simple, sweet songs. Aly Paige's vocals are clear, clean and powerful. Originally from Delaware, now living in Philadelphia, Aly joined the band as a novice in the Americana world, but with some roots in the world of opera. Aly belts with the best of them, and one can hear a little Etta James in her approach to the material; soulful, soaring, then close up and intimate, Aly's approach captivates and ignites the audience.

Recent Release: Shoot the Moon
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Label: Appleseed Records
Hometown: WILMINGTON, Delaware

Early Sign-Up - See Matthew Sweet at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington

See Matthew Sweet on October 28 at the QueenEarly sign-up for Matthew Sweet's Free At Noon show on October 28 at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE
RSVP for Matthew Sweet

A co-production of WXPN and
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a concert live Friday at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live

Listen to the Concert Live Friday on the Radio and Online at

Joseph Arthur Joseph Arthur's new album, Graduation Ceremony was just released. He's playing the XPoNential Music Festival in July, and he'll be here for XPN's Free At Noon this Friday, June 17.

Singer-songwriter, Joseph Arthur began singing at the age of 21, although his fondness for music and the guitar began earlier than that. Having grown up in Akron, Ohio, Arthur relocated to Atlanta where he found a thriving music scene. A masterful painter as well, Arthur fuses his two passions, designing his own cover art and sometimes using his paintings as backgrounds for his sets. The now Grammy nominated musician's career began with a slow start but with his talent, his success was always destined to be. Having been compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, and Joe Henry and having toured with Tracy Chapman, Ben Harper, and Gomez, Arthur carries on the legacy of great singer-songwriters.

MySpace: /
Recent Release: Graduation Ceremony
Release Date: May 23, 2011
Label: Lonely Astronaut
Origin: Brooklyn, NY

The Theatre Alliance Casting Couch will making an appearance at this Free At Noon.

Stop by and take a seat and let us know what you get from theatre. Whether it is challenge, inspiration, or a good laugh, Philadelphia's theatres want to know. Check in here for new opportunities to take a seat on the Philly Theatre Casting Couch to share how you fill in the blanks with theatre. Each time, a Philadelphia theatre celebrity will be sitting there, waiting to hear your story. Casting Couch

A co-production of WXPN and NPR Music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Secret Sisters, XPN's Artist To Watch, November 2010

The Secret Sisters are off to a good start in the music world. Backed by the legendary Jack White, their debut album (produced by White) was just released via Third Man Records. It's full of old-time country and folk, complete with a Johnny Cash cover and the two sisters' take on "Wabash Cannonball."{readmorelink}Read More...{/readmorelink}

This Philly-based trio, originally formed while guitarist Tommy Siegel, pianist Ben Thornewill, and drummer Jesse Kristin were in college in Washington, D.C. – is described as whimsical, quirky, energetic indie band featuring melodic pop tunes driven by a sizzling rock momentum.

Hear a live concert every Friday at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast live from the stage at World Cafe Live

September 24, 2010

Listen to the Concert Live on the Radio and Online at

British Rock Veterans, James are touring the states in support of their new album The Morning After The Night Before, and play The Trocadero here in Philly this Friday night, September 24, 2010.

Sahara Smith When Paul Gilbertson managed to league up with Jim Glennie and Gavin Whelan in Manchester, UK back in 1982, he didn't realize that his actions would create a framework for decades of music to follow. Sharing their music with fans, the group gigged extensively thorughout the 80's before becoming the popular hit band James in the 1990s. It was then that they teamed up with Brian Eno, who pushed them to expand on their brit pop-rock style with new and exciting experimentation in sound. And with that growth, they were able to accentuate their warm melodies and win over the hearts of millions.

Expanding their sound to feature vocals, guitars, keyboards, violin, percussion, bass and trumpet, James maneuvers between quiet intimate moments and rivoting blasts of sound. Their mastery of dynamics and catchy melodies has always proved to be a crowd winning formula, and their impact on modern rock is undeniable.

With 10 released studio albums and millions of internationally sold copies, the modern rockers decided to depart ways in 2001. Returning to the scene in 2007, James is proving to be as capturing as they were when they started. Their latest double feature is a two mini-album release, "The Morning After The Night Before," which were originally released as separate discs in the UK.

So take the time to explore the light and dark side of these new releases at this Friday's Free At Noon. This is one you don't want to miss.

Recent Release: The Morning After The Night Before
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Label: Mercury
Origin: Manchester, UK

Free At Noon Setlist
1. Dust Motes
2. Rabbit Hole
3. Out To Get You
4. Laid
5. Getting Away With It
6. Crazy
7. Say Something
8. I Want To Go Home

A co-production of WXPN and

Visit NPR Music to hear the concert.

PARKING NOTICE and Directions

Due to the construction in the area, free parking is no longer available for XPN Free At Noon shows. Metered parking on 31st street is no longer available, and metered parking on Walnut Street is extremely limited as a result of the closure and reconstruction of the South Street Bridge, and the rerouting of traffic onto Walnut Street.

Public transportation to XPN Free At Noon is recommended. For more information on parking in the area visit World Cafe Live.

Find more information on directions and public transportation here.

Serving People in Need - Help Drive Hunger from Our Communities

When you come to XPN's Free At Noon Concerts, bring a can of food to support Philabundance, Delaware Valley's hunger relief organization. We have drop-off boxes to collect canned goods for the needy. Current priority items include: canned pasta, chili, beef stew, tuna, mac & cheese, ready to eat cereal, pork & beans/ baked beans, green beans, corn, fruit cocktail, creamy peanut butter and/ or grape jelly (plastic containers only), and boxed sugar. Thanks!

Bela Fleck The Wood Brothers Rosanne Cash Shawn Mullins

WXPN and NPR Music Live Friday Free At Noon Concert Archives Include:

Dr. Dog, Carrie Rodriguez, Annuals, DeVotchKa, Adele, Angel Taylor, Winterpills, Sharon Little, Ollabelle, Andrew Lipke, The Low Anthem, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Sean Lennon, Chris Smith, California Guitar trio, Joan Osborne, Disco Biscuits, Damien Rice, Cold War Kids, Marc Broussard, The Slip, Arlo Guthrie, Alice Smith, The Dears, Barenaked Ladies, and more...

Visit our photo gallery of shots from Free At Noon Concerts!WXPN Free at Noon Photo Gallery at Flickr
Click to visit our gallery for photos of the Free At Noon Concerts! Previous concerts include Hall & Oates, O.A.R., Citizen Cope, Old Crow Medicine Show, Kaki King and many more!

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