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World Cafe

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

Remembering Tom Petty On World Cafe

Oct 3, 2017

The music world was stunned today by the death of Tom Petty, the voice and pen behind some of the most memorable, unifying songs in rock 'n' roll history. Today we remember his time on the World Cafe with two sessions from our archives.

You barely have to listen through a full verse and chorus of a Lilly Hiatt song to feel like you've connected instantly with a new friend — one who's warm and gritty in all the good ways, who welcomes you up to her porch and holds the screen door right open.

Larissa Maestro travels far and wide within the Nashville music scene. She's a classically trained cellist and musical theater nerd who has recorded sessions with country and Americana stars ranging from The Band Perry to Margo Price to Deer Tick to Wanda Jackson.

Charles Bradley died on Saturday at the age of 68, a mere six years after releasing his debut album, No Time For Dreaming. We were lucky enough to have him perform as a guest on the World Cafe in 2013 and in 2016, and we revisit those sessions today in memory of the beloved "Screaming Eagle of Soul."

In this session of World Cafe, we've got four superstar musicians for the price of one: Carlos Santana, one of the greatest guitarists of all time; Cindy Blackman Santana, a virtuoso jazz and rock drummer who spent decades as the backbone on world tours for artists like Lenny Kravitz, and her now-husband Carlos; and Ron and Ernie Isley, the two main surviving members of the legendary Isley Brothers.

It's always kind of a miracle when two people find each other and fall in love. And that's what happened to my guests, the duo known as Amadou & Mariam. But their story is even more miraculous. They're both from Mali; they both lost their eyesight as kids — Mariam was 5, and Amadou was 16. They met each other at the Bamako Institute for the Young Blind in the '70s, fell in love with each other's musicianship and went on to get married and become global Afropop sensations.

Portland, Ore.'s The Decemberists and British singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney have teamed up to cover traditional English (and Irish and Scottish) folk songs under the name Offa Rex.

In this special episode, we're having a listening party inspired by Turning the Tables, NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women. It was spearheaded by Ann Powers, our Nashville correspondent. She joins us — along with Alisa Ali from WFUV in New York City, Andrea Swensson from The Current in Minneapolis, and me, Talia Schlanger — to focus on a couple important records from that list that came out in the '90s.

The Barr Brothers — siblings Brad and Andrew Barr, along with harpist Sarah Pagé – are set to release a new album, Queens Of The Breakers, via Secret City Records on Oct. 13.

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