Talia Schlanger

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.

Schlanger is a proud alumna of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program. Previously she worked as a professional actress and singer, including performing in the first national US tour of Green Day's rock opera American Idiot, Mirvish Productions' original Canadian company of Queen's We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia!. Born and raised in Toronto, Schlanger denies the accusation that she's biased toward Canadian bands. But she is proud to introduce American audiences to a lot of them.

His name is J.S. Ondara and his sound alone is extraordinary. When he came into the World Cafe Performance Studio, pretty much the whole staff gathered to witness his performance and was mesmerized behind the glass.

After a year in New York, the 61st Annual Grammy Awards return to Los Angeles, taking place at the Staples Center this weekend on Sunday, Feb. 10. Over the years, World Cafe has had numerous visits from those nominated and those who've won, and last year we were fortunate to have some extraordinary musicians on the show.

It's been 40 years since Steve Forbert released his debut album, Alive on Arrival, and he's marked the occasion with a new album and a new memoir. The new album is called The Magic Tree, a collection of songs, all but one of which have never been released before and some of which he started writing back in the '80s.

Chan Marshall, who makes music as Cat Power, is a live wire, sparking in fits and starts while creative currents run through her. Sometimes it's staccato and sometimes it's smooth, and you get the sense that sometimes it's in her control and other times maybe it's not.

On our recent trip to Glasgow, we made a musical pilgrimage about six miles outside the city center to a venue called Platform. It's a community arts space where residents of the Easterhouse neighborhood (which has historically been known for poverty and equality) can get together and express themselves. Platform is the birthplace of an album Conflats, based on stories told by members of the Easterhouse community to two musicians; James Graham, lead singer of the Scottish indie punk band The Twilight Sad, and Scottish Album of the Year Award winning artist Kathryn Joseph.

Melbourne-based band Oh Pep! caught a ton of well-deserved buzz with its 2016 debut album, Stadium Cake. The duo wound up on international festival dates and capped off a whirlwind tour sharing the stage with Billy Bragg at Glastonbury Festival.

For this session, we took a trip out to Colorado to spend time with Gregory Alan Isakov. OK, not a real trip, but a radio trip.

Gregory was born in South Africa and raised in Philadelphia but now lives on his own farm in Colorado. That's where he made his latest album, Evening Machines, from inside a barn. His process includes writing snippets of ideas on colored Post-it Notes and putting them up on the walls.

When we planned our recent World Cafe Sense of Place trip to Scotland, many people from the Internet hive mind recommended we visit Martha Ffion. So we met up with the artist at The Hug and Pint, a vegan restaurant and music venue that was instrumental in Ffion's early career, for a chat and performance.

Ffion treated us to songs from her debut full length album, Sunday Best, along with a new song called "Kennedy Hair." She talked about drawing inspiration from jokes on American TV shows and explained the term "curtain twitching."

Weren't we just here? Not that I'm complaining! David Crosby is one of my favorite people to talk to.

Crosby is in his late 70s and has released four albums in the past five years. What makes this current creative streak so inspiring and so puzzling to me is that none of these albums feels like a musical case of Déjà Croz. He's not making the same album over again. He's stretching sounds in ways that seem to surprise and delight even Crosby himself.

When you're surrounded by thousands of fans at a Mumford & Sons show, you're not likely to actually get to shake hands or share a sweaty hug with the members of the band. But you might leave feeling like you just did.

When World Cafe went to Edinburgh, Scotland as part of Sense of Place series this past fall, the National Museum of Scotland was showing the first major exhibition dedicated to Scottish pop music.

As a gay, left-wing woman living in the South, Indigo Girls' Amy Ray says she's in love with a place that doesn't always love her back. But she draws creative fuel from the differences of opinion and expresses gratitude for the village that's helped Ray and her partner raise their child in rural Georgia. On her latest solo album, Holler, Ray calls out the difference between Southern pride and Southern hate and imagines what Jesus might have thought of a border wall.

Known for putting on raucous shows and turning Scottish traditional music on its head, Elephant Sessions won Live Act of the Year from The Scots Trad Music Awards and were shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year in 2018. The band is a festival favorite that has earned accolades from Rolling Stone and its third album comes out later this year.

Kalmia Traver describes the unique circumstances of making Rubblebucket's latest album, Sun Machine, with Alex Toth, who she met in college over 15 years ago.

"We started out as romantic partners at the beginning of the album and then we weren't anymore by the end," Traver says.

One day, you're touring in a rock band in your 20s, and then, all of a sudden, the checkout guy at Trader Joe's calls you "sir."

It's a mistletoe milestone! After 25 years of bringing cheers to our ears, the alt-country rockers of the Old 97's have released their first album of holiday jams. Love the Holidays is packed with delightful originals, including songs inspired by the Ramones, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's love life and the social significance of snow angels.

Every single artist who visits us at World Cafe makes a mark with their words. Some have changed the way I hear a lyric, some have changed the way I see the world. Sometimes the shift is subtle, sometimes it's tectonic. With heartfelt thanks to every guest we've had on the show in 2018, here are 10 of my favorite quotes from World Cafe interviews this year — 10 moments in which an artist shared something that rewired my brain, opened my eyes and gave me something I'm still thinking about.


"Let's start a beef, you guys." Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker erupt into laughter before they can fully flesh out a fake feud that might satisfy the "supergroup" designation some have assigned their collaboration. This exchange typifies what makes the trio's debut EP as boygenius so special.

"Odds are the people that love you are just dying for you to tell the truth." When Kiley Lotz, who records as Petal, says this, you believe her. Kiley made her second full length album, Magic Gone, while she was coming to terms with seeking help for major depressive and panic disorders and subsequently going through treatment. She also came out as queer at that time.

Today, we're traveling back 50 years to 1968 Memphis, Tenn. to take a peek inside one of the most influential recording studios, Stax Records. Co-founded by brother and sister Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, Stax was home to the likes of Otis Redding, the Staples Singers, Booker T.

On the night Jeff Tweedy was set to visit the Free Library of Philadelphia to talk about his new memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back), in front of an audience of fans, the first snow storm of the season had caught the city off guard. Traffic was gnarly and Tweedy was genuinely concerned.

A bunch of artists rent a house in Glorieta, N.M. for a week of tequila, hot tubs, home cooking and music-making. Some of them know each other, some are meeting for the first time. It may sound like the premise for a spring break movie, but it's actually the premise for a new album — one that has equal measures of sweaty, raucous fun and arresting, emotional depth.

Hozier is an artist who can create musical moments big enough to galvanize every molecule of air around them into action and tiny enough that they can burrow themselves in the hidden corners of your own heart. His ability to do both on the same album — and sometimes, even on the same song — is what makes him so special.

Willie Nelson, Mazzy Star and Neil Young have all inspired today's guest to make inviting music that carries an air of mystery, nostalgia and ease. Anna St. Louis started writing songs when she moved to LA about five years ago. Her debut full-length album, If Only There Was a River, came out earlier this year.

Today, a Cinderella story, but with a glass cowboy boot for a slipper. It's about Lori McKenna, a songwriter from a small town outside Boston, who made a massive name for herself in Nashville, won her first Grammy in 2016 and became the first woman to win Songwriter of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2017.

I couldn't make it through Ruston Kelly's full-length debut in one stretch the first time I tried. Between the mortal question — "How the hell do I return to normal / If I'm always ending up flat on my back?" — he poses on the opening track and the heart-wrenching harmonica on the next tune, by the time the vocoder washed over the image Kelly as the "son of a highway daughter, born in gasoline" on Track 3, I had to take a welled-up walk away from my desk.

Kacey Musgraves is magnetic — there are no two ways about it. It's not just that she can sing like a bird and write like a bard. It's the calm charisma that a person who knows exactly who she is and wishes the same for others can't help but exude.

The ceilings are low. Other than a handwritten sign taped above the mixing board that says "Try," the walls are blank. There's a violin that only has one string lying under the desk, and a bunch of pieces of a drum kit in a corner next to some keys. We're in the basement studio in Edinburgh, Scotland where Young Fathers made its Scottish Album of the Year Award-winning record Cocoa Sugar.

Robyn's latest album, Honey, out now, is her first new full-length solo album in eight years. While making the record, the Swedish pop singer was dealing with two big losses: the end of a relationship and the death of a longtime friend and collaborator, Christian Falk. She came out the other side with an outstanding album that offers dance as an alternative to sitting down through sadness.

According to KT Tunstall, the best Scottish chips have a lot in common with the best songwriters: they're "soggy and crunchy at the same time." World Cafe visited KT in Edinburgh — where the artist was born — the day after a sold-out show featuring songs from her new album, WAX. The record certainly passes the chip test: It has the bite and crunch of a big rock record and the tender heart of a singer-songwriter confessional.

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