World Cafe is a cutting edge, two-hour program of alternative contemporary music. It offers a broad range of innovative sounds drawn from American as well as international music. It includes music that is familiar but also showcases works by new and emerging artists.
The story of Beirut, the sweetly melancholy musical venture of Zach Condon, is like something out of a movie. The New Mexico native dropped out of college in 2006 to focus on writing and recording music. He produced Gulag Orkestar, celebrating old-world weirdness and nostalgia with bawdy Balkan organ pumps and trumpets. The album sparked a meteoric rise for the young artist.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks formed after Malkmus' previous band, Pavement, went on hiatus in 1999. Five albums later, Malkmus has evolved as much as he's returned to his roots: He's sometimes focused and refined, other times lithe and unpredictable.
The L.A. collective Fool's Gold visits World Cafe today to discuss its latest work, Leave No Trace. Under the artistic leadership of Lewis Pesacov and Luke Top, the band has become known for incorporating rhythms and sound textures — particularly in the guitar parts — from all over the globe, including Africa and the Middle East. For the current record, the group, once 12 members strong, has pared itself down to a quintet, in the process fine-tuning the detail in its songwriting.
Singer-songwriter Paul Brady's acclaim extends beyond his reputation as one of Ireland's most loved artists — he's renowned worldwide as one of folk music's greats. Brady grew up listening to the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Winifred Atwell and Fats Domino, and taught himself to play the piano and guitar almost entirely by ear.