Hear an unusual session today with Hailu Mergia, a keyboard player and Ethiopian music star who now lives in the U.S. He came to World Cafe's attention through Awesome Tapes From Africa, the website where Brian Shimkovitz posts cassette tapes of African music he discovers. That's what led Shimkovitz to Mergia.
Lily & Madeleine, two sisters from Indianapolis, made their name — and their first EP, The Weight Of The Globe — on the strength of covers uploaded to YouTube. Now, the duo's second album (Fumes) builds on its combination of sibling harmonies and haunting, lilting arrangements.
Hear the full segment at the audio link and individual songs from Lily & Madeleine's set below.
This week's World Cafe: Next artist is the Canadian alt-country trio Elliott Brood. With five albums under their collective belt, Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso and Stephen Pitkin have been playing together since 2002, and the experience shows. The band moves with the easy flow of musicians who know each other well, which in turn lends its rootsy songs lived-in authenticity.
Elliott Brood's latest album is titled Work And Love. Hear and download two of its songs on this page.
Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:29 pm
Kindness, born Adam Bainbridge, knows his way around grooves. Otherness, his second album, is a fitting introduction to the Blood Orange collaborator's sincere, kinetic take on R&B and synth-pop. Songs begin deep in the pocket and slowly unravel in a spray of horn blasts and drum hits. In this way, "World Restart" functions as both a song title and a mission statement: Kindness is rejuvenating.
Hear the full segment at the audio link and individual songs below.
Montreal's Elephant Stone combines the sounds of Indian classical music and '60s psychedelic rock — the two loves of frontman, bassist and sitar player Rishi Dhir.
"It's music I was brought up on," Dihr says. "The idea of fusing pop music with Eastern instrumentation was never a foreign thing. It was just something that seemed natural to me. You listen to this music, you absorb all these influences. What comes out is what you can do."
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 9:00 am
Formed in 1978, the Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize has found itself straddling tradition and innovation since its inception.
"When we were in Colorado, we were the traditional bluegrass band. And when we went east of the Mississippi, we were the progressive one," songwriter and mandolin player Tim O'Brien says. "We were kind of an interesting middle ground there."
Angaleena Presley's American Middle Class — one of NPR Music's favorite albums of 2014 — is her first solo record. But Presley isn't exactly an unknown entity: As one-third of the Pistol Annies, performing with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe, she's topped the country charts.
Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 3:46 pm
Peter Matthew Bauer, formerly the bassist and keyboardist for The Walkmen, released his first album as a solo artist — titled Liberation! — earlier this year. On his own, Bauer takes the lighter tones of The Walkmen's later albums, Lisbon and Heaven, and sets them loose in the air. Songs like "Philadelphia Raga," heard at the top of today's episode of World Cafe, move with a been-around-the-block swing that anchors glittering guitar work.
Hear the full episode at the audio link, as well as individual songs below.