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World Cafe

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February's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from Amythyst Kiah, Sofia Valdes, The Weather Station and more.

"I think it was the first time I heard Brook Benton's 'Rainy Night In Georgia,'" Dan Auerbach says during a call from his Nashville studio about discovering Tony Joe White. "I'd heard the song a bunch already, and I just figured it was a Ray Charles song or something. But then I heard Tony Joe's version and everything about it just blew my mind."

Sofía Valdés has had a remarkable journey during the first 20 years of her life. She was born in Panama to a musical family; her great-grandfather was legendary Cuban musician Miguelito Valdés and her great-grandmother Silvia De Grasse was a singer who performed with Louis Armstrong. It didn't take her long to follow in those footsteps. At age 8 she was playing guitar, and by 13 she was writing her own songs.

Much of what distinguishes New Orleans today from other American cities can be traced back to French and African influences from Haiti. The cultural ties go back more than 200 years, when 10,000 free and enslaved people left what was then the French colony of Saint Domingue during the country's revolution. NOLA's multi-cultural DNA is its calling card, and it's reflected in the food, architecture, art, and most notably, music.

January's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from The Avalanches, Chet Faker, Igwe Aka, Madlib, Run the Jewels and more.

BENEE, The Artist Behind A Viral TikTok Hit, Gets Serious And Weird

Jan 27, 2021

UPDATED Friday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Editors Note: This interview was pre-recorded in November 2020. BENEE's former manager, Paul McKessar, who is named in the interview, no longer works with her, CRS Management or her producer Josh Fountain.

We catch up with TJ and John Osborne, aka The Brothers Osborne, who have carved an unusual path in country music. Theirs encompasses lots of interesting flavors, including blues, rock and bluegrass, which informs what they do, to create something still within the realm of country, but with a personal twist.

You might know Matt Berninger as the lead singer of The National, a band that I've often described as "sounding like an overcast day." I mean that in a good way, but the point is, his music, along with his distinctive baritone voice, has a melancholy quality to it. But Berninger himself?

Right from the start of Kendall Morgan's "Rescue Me," the first thing you notice is her confident, powerful voice. It welcomes you in with a warm embrace. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter draws on a soulful blend of Americana and R&B with flourishes of gospel. Her EP, produced by J. LBS and due out early this year, includes "Rescue Me" and "Okay," two songs you'll see her perform in this exclusive mini concert for World Cafe.

Here's To New Beginnings: A Playlist For 2021

Jan 1, 2021

Congratulations! You made it to 2021! This year, more than any other in recent memory, maybe you're excited for a fresh start — and certainly hopeful that this year might be better than the last. While we can't know what the future holds, this day may well feel like you've made it to the other side of something, like you've crossed a bridge over troubled water. To kick off the new year, here's a playlist that's all about new beginnings. Enjoy.

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