Bridging the Distance: Online Resources from WCL Education

While we’re all practicing safe social distancing, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our educational programming – particularly for the young people, home-schooling caregivers, and educators in your world.

As many of you may know, WCL recently merged with our longtime partners LiveConnections to form one combined nonprofit. We’re eager to continue and expand the great educational and community work that LiveConnections has built over the past 12 years – but in the meantime, here’s some content from our archives. These performances are joyful explorations of how music expresses cultures, crosses boundaries, and brings us together.

Below you’ll find Bridging the Distance, a video collection of highlights and full Bridge Sessions, plus a few other favorite moments of music with and for young people – and grownups! Each link features a brief description, an age range, and some curricular connections to help any educators out there.


1

Artists: Elena Moon Park, violin; Ami Yares, guitar and vocals; Joe Tayoun, percussion

Themes: This session explores the diversity, themes, and spirit of folk music from a variety of cultures, including East Asia, the Middle East, and the U.S.

This excerpt features “Bint el Shabaliya,” a popular Lebanese folk song. The line “Ayyam aal baal bitaaiin itrouh” translates as “But these days are tough and they go”; “tough days come and go.” Resonant for the times! The excerpt also features a fun, interactive drumming exercise with Joe Tayoun.

Curricular connections: Cultural studies; how music expresses identity; lessons on rhythm

 

2

Artists: Alex Shaw, pandeiro & berimbau; Francois Zayas, maracas; Doc Gibbs, congas

Themes: Alex Shaw breaks down the “language” of the pandeiro, in an activity students could try at home; Francois Zayas exhibits his mad maracas skills!

Curricular connections: Interactive music/rhythm lessons

 

3

Award-winning spoken word poet Denice Frohman tells the story of how her grandparents met and fell in love and married. She speaks it in the voice of her grandmother, set to music by Andrew Lipke, performed by the Aizuri String Quartet.

Themes: Family history, poetry, interdisciplinary connections

Curricular connections: Lessons on poetry, personal narrative, oral history, music/text intersections

 

4

We created this video as part of the album “A DAY IN MY LIFE” we made in partnership with Henry H. Houston School in 2016. This is some musical fun for anyone who needs to just shake it out a bit. It features a catchy beat, student-created lyrics, and the entire Houston student body dancing along.

Choreography: Student team “Black Illusion” (Samiah Dean, Samaria Dockery, Arlon Hart, Jasmine O’Connor and Nijah Rogers-Combs, 5th grade) with artist Lela Aisha Jones
Producer: Galea McGregor
Project lead artists/producers: Ezechial Thurman, Houston Music Specialist Teacher; Andrew Lipke & David Bradley, LiveConnections

 

5

Artists: Doc Gibbs, Alex Shaw, Francois Zayas, percussion

Theme: A tour of percussion from around the world, from West Africa to the United States

Curricular connections: Cultural studies, world music, lessons on rhythm

 

6

Artists: Yumi Kendall, cello; Luigi Mazzocchi, violin; Alex Shaw, percussion

Theme: From Bach to the Jackson 5 & Black-Eyed Peas, music that cultures have danced to over the centuries.

Curricular connections: Cultural studies (links music from different times/cultures), different musical genres (classical, Brazilian, world, pop/rock)

 

7

Artists: Lela Aisha Jones, movement; Kwasi Burgee, Alex Shaw, Anssumane Silla—percussion

Theme: The intersection of movement and rhythm through polyrhythms, Brazilian capoeira, West African dance and hip-hop.

Curricular connections: World cultures, lessons in rhythm, dance, hip-hop

 

Highlights from “Folk Music_ The People’s Music”

Artists: Angie Zator-Nelson, percussion; Lisa Vaupel, violin; Andrew Lipke, guitar and vocals

Theme: All the ways rhythm is a part of our lives, how we hear it, feel it, and create it musically.

Curricular connections: Lessons on different musical styles, lessons on rhythm

CHEF NOTES: Episode Three

BY ROB COTTMAN

I have had the fortunate opportunity to meet many people throughout my life and travels, and every single one of them has taught me something about getting where you want to go. In this current chapter of my life as Executive Chef of World Cafe Live, I am grateful to work alongside many people in both the hospitality and music industry who are working hard daily to stay sharp in their respective fields. Here you will find my interviews with some of those people, and an exclusive inside look behind the scenes of who we are and what we do and why we love it.

EPISODE THREE: Meet Jorgan

Every single event large and small that comes through the venue must be coordinated on some level by the production department, and that makes Production Manager Jorgan Krug the busiest person in the building day in and day out. He maintains a hectic calendar, handles ridiculous changeovers, makes tour managers and event clients happy, leads a very strong team, and still finds time to explore his profession on the road. Working in a kitchen is its own grind, and I have so much respect and appreciation for the pace that Jorgan has to keep year-round.

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RC: What defines the daily role of a production manager in a music venue? What other elements are required specifically for a Production Manager at World Cafe Live?
JK: Production Managers oversee all of the technical aspects of an event, and act as the intermediary between venue and the touring party (artist/crew/management.)  Aspects include: vehicle parking, day schedule, tech crew labor staffing, coordinating tech elements, sourcing any gear rentals, handling backstage hospitality, and relaying safety concerns to security staff.  There are often a lot of heavy things being moved, tall ladders being climbed, and objects being hung high in the air; a PM must make sure all of this work is being done in a safe manner.

In addition to the execution of all of the above on the show day, the planning of everything must be negotiated and agreed upon ahead of time, in a process called “advancing.”  So expect to be planning all aspects of several weeks worth of events while simultaneously executing whatever event(s) are taking place in real time.

Lastly, a PM must also balance financial budgets with regard to show labor, employee payroll, catering, and equipment maintenance/repair.

WCL is unique in the amount, as well as the vast diversity, of events hosted.  The skills and temperament needed by Production staff to properly put on a rock’n’roll show, verses say a classical orchestra, are quite varied.  Having such a diversity of events helps to ‘round out’ ones skill set, and keeps things fresh and exciting.

RC: Having been on both sides of the stage, what motivated you to dive deeper into sound engineering and production management?
JK: People started paying me more money to execute their performances than to conduct my own.

RC: What are some key things that you look for in people when interviewing someone who wants to be a part of your production team?
JK: Must work well with others (often for long hours at a time.)  Time management and problem solving/troubleshooting skills are a must.  But above all, delivering under pressure.  Live concert production is often full of high-pressure situations, with strict time constraints, where any technical mistake made could have disastrous consequences, that likely will be noticed by everyone in attendance.  It’s not enough to simply keep your cool; you must thrive on that pressure, and naturally perform your very best in these circumstances.

RC: What are some of the craziest things that bands have requested on their riders?
JK: Backrubs, high fives, drugs, a locally supplied human body double, a picture of Dolly Parton, mannequins.  The crazier requests have not been in riders, but in person.

RC: With the long hours and weeks with events back to back to back, what are some of the small moments that remind you that you’re doing what you love?
JK: Touring crews expressing gratitude.  Interfacing with like-minded peers, surviving high stress situations, and pulling off sometimes near-impossible tasks, is extremely rewarding when accomplished.  When the show is done, the work is over, and the trailer is packed… being thanked, hearing that everything went smoother than anticipated, and leaving with a sense of mutual respect is very fulfilling; and ultimately the reason why the hard work is worth doing.

RC: We host over 500 shows a year with bands ranging from local artists to international acts and everyone in between. What are some of the ways your team lets each artist know we understand the grind?
JK: That number seems pretty low to me, hah.  Instead of asking “How are you?”  We’re more interested in how long the tour is, how much of the tour is already over?  “How long was the drive from last night?  Where are you off to tomorrow?  Oh that place, cool, yes that’s a fine room.  What’s this guitar you have here?”  We’re not just asking for the sake of conversation; it’s an overlap of interest shared by like-minded people in a similar space.  The music business is very much a people business.

RC: What sets us apart from other venues in the city and why is being an independent venue in Philadelphia for fifteen years and counting so important?
JK: Being independent in the venue space allows you to have a large diversity of programming, engage involvement in community, cultivate a designated experience for artists and attendees alike, and gives a freedom to forge a unique identity.

RC: What do you learn about the industry when you go out on the road and how do you bring those experiences back with you to the venue?
JK: In my experience, it’s really easy to form blind spots when you are doing one thing, or stay in one place, for an extended period of time.  When touring, being at a new place every day, you naturally investigate/notice aspects of a venue throughout the day that are of importance to you.  “The parking for the tour bus was way easier yesterday, the food at catering is better today, I can’t believe there are steps here and not a proper ramp”…these sorts of things.

Being in an investigative mindset and coming back to your home base can be eye-opening to improvements that can be made, whether in physical logistics or in general practices.  Having up-to-date knowledge of how production is being executed around the country (and the world) is obviously an invaluable asset; but it also builds empathy.  When you’ve personally been that guy that is 3,000 miles from home, for weeks at a time, tired, getting fed cold pasta in a greenroom with no heat, dealing with apathetic local sound crews… it builds a pretty strong desire to make sure others don’t go through those experiences when they enter your venue.

RC: What is the one show during your time at the venue that stands out to you the most?
JK: Snarky Puppy played several times; they are always quite the show.

RC: Who would be your dream act to perform on the World Cafe Live stage?
JK: Tom Waits.  Dillinger Escape Plan.

 

In The Spotlight: Stooges Brass Band, The Crooked Vines

By Tate Kamish

After our second ever World Cafe Live Spotlight Artist show, we are confident that  The Crooked Vines and The Stooges Brass Band  will soon be household names for fans of funk, jazz, and so much in between.

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, The Crooked Vines started off the evening with a funk-fueled, pop set, after which one enthusiastic woman told me we “should definitely have this band back!”

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The Stooges Brass Band has earned their rank as one of the elite brass bands in New Orleans. The band consistently provides a welcome blast of true New Orleans spirit, engaging audiences with their innovative blend of traditional New Orleans brass sounds, contemporary jazz and hip-hop beats.

Friday’s performance proved to be no different in that the room was flooded with energy, bringing out a diverse crowd with one thing in common: everyone came ready to dance–mirroring The Stooges’ steps the whole time.

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Next up under the World Cafe Live Spotlight are local artists, Kingsley Ibeneche & Taylor Kelly on March 28th, followed by Motel Radio with Quiet Hollers on April 19th!

Although the events are FREE, we ask that you please RSVP ahead of time. We hope to see you then!

Phoebe Bridgers on her songwriting process, biggest inspirations, 2018 goals

By: Tate Kamish

Over a cup of coffee on a snowy afternoon, I had the pleasure of chatting with Los Angeles-based, folk-rock musician, Phoebe Bridgers. Well, she was making coffee as we spoke on the phone just a few days before embarking on tour. Although the 23-year-old has already toured with a handful of notable artists, including Julien Baker and Conor Oberst, this will be her first tour where she is headlining–with the exception of a couple of dates supporting Bon Iver.

“I’m actually really curious to see who comes to these shows,” she says with excitement in her voice, “I don’t really know what my demographic is or if my shows are loud or quiet… that sorta thing.”

Reflecting on her last tour with Conor Oberst, Bridgers has nothing but positive remarks: “He’s the best. Truly. I was on the bus by myself one time with him and 13 of his friends, and everybody was so nice to me to the point where they were buying me all this chocolate like, try this one; try this one!” She adds, “And I love chocolate.”

People often say, don’t meet your heroes, for fear of being disappointed, but for Bridgers, it seems to have worked out perfectly. Growing up, she really connected with the music of Oberst and Elliott Smith, who were inspired by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and Neil Young–some of her favorite artists as well.

“My first concert was Kelly Clarkson; I was obsessed. Then I saw Neil Young the same year,” she laughs before adding with confidence, “That tells you more about me than any other question will.”

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Bridgers’ debut LP, Stranger in the Alps, is a collection of hauntingly beautiful, intimate songs about loneliness, relationships, and death. On her songwriting process, Bridgers explains, “I have an ongoing note on my phone of weird stuff that I feel like would make it into a song. Basically I tweet at myself all day, [or] I’ll have a melody in my head and the words will just come naturally.” She pauses, “A lot of times I’ll write from the inside out.”

Despite her songs having a dark overtone, Bridgers seems to have a very bright disposition. She reveals that she is  happiest when outside, naming the Griffith Observatory as one of her go-to spots. In fact, one of her favorite parts of touring is seeing aspects of nature that she has not yet experienced, and asking locals about their favorite hikes and trails.  

Likewise, Bridgers deeply values connecting with her audiences: “I’ll have amazing conversations with audience members. I like that people bring themselves and their lives to my shows.” With each performance, she wants to inspire more women to write songs of their own. 

Bridgers is also itching to record again, hoping to simultaneously find some studio time and “still love touring,” by the end of the year. Until then, she will continue the ongoing stream-of-consciousness on her phone, maybe even including some of her most-used emojis–Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 12.49.22 PM.png

WXPN welcomes Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy to the World Cafe Live stage on February 21st. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

February 2018 Staff Picks

John OatesGin BlossomsSyleena Johnson, and Phoebe Bridgers are just a few of the amazing artists we have coming to the World Cafe Live stage this February. Plus, we have our second show of the Spotlight Artist Series featuring The Stooges Brass Band with their unique blend of authentic New Orleans brass, contemporary jazz, and hip-hop beats—oh yeah, and it’s completely FREE! What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras?

You can check out these artists and more on WCL’s February Spotify playlist.


John Oates is one half of the best-selling duo of all time Hall & Oates, as well as an accomplished solo artist. Daryl Hall & John Oates have gone on to record 21 albums, which have sold over 80 million units, making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 #1 records, over 20 Top-40 hits, and have toured the world for decades.Since embarking on a long awaited solo career in 1999, Oates has recorded five solo albums: Phunk Shui1000 Miles of LifeMississippi Mile, a live album called The Bluesville Sessions, and Good Road To Follow. You do not want to miss his performance with The Good Road Band on February 6th!

Favorite tracks: “Color of Love,” “Bad Bad Love,” “Different Kind of Groove Sometime” 

Syleena Johnson is one of those undeniable talents whose unfaltering truth shines through every note she sings, and we are so excited for her to take the World Cafe Live stage on February 9th. Undoubtedly one of the best singers of her generation, Johnson has collaborated with everyone from Kanye West and Common to Anthony Hamilton and R. Kelly. Her 2017 record, Rebirth of Soul, features covers hand-picked by her father, Syl Johnson—including his own “Is It Because I’m Black?”

Favorite tracks: “Make Me Yours,” “Guess What,” “Is It Because I’m Black?”

The Stooges Brass Band, widely considered one of New Orleans’ elite brass bands, is playing the World Cafe Live on February 16th as part of our new Spotlight Artist Series—bringing you the best emerging talent to come through Philly. Over the course of a twenty-year career, the Stooges have shared the stage with greats including Jessica Simpson, Galactic, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Trombone Shorty, Shemekia Copeland, Pedrito Martinez Group, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Ozomatli, Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli), Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and The Funky Meters, among others.

Favorite tracks: “Stooges Party,” “Wind It Up”

In the late 80’s, Gin Blossoms started to grow a huge following as the #1 local music draw in Phoenix, Arizona. Their indelible jangle-pop sound was evolving during radio’s diverse mix of hair bands and grunge music superstars. Their breakout record, New Miserable Experience, was where their rise to fame began. This album kept the band on the chart for almost 3 years with singles “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs. Rita,” and “Found Out About You.” The crossover hits on New Miserable Experience played on 4 radio formats and, to date, have sold over 5 million records.

Now, the band is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the very record that brought them to fame on February 20th here at World Cafe Live.

Favorite tracks: “Found Out About You,” “Hey Jealousy”

On February 21st, we welcome Los Angeles-based folk-rock artist, Phoebe Bridgers, who has been described as Elliott Smith meets Gillian Welch. Bridgers grew up in the rose-colored city of Pasadena, attending the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts to study music. From an early age, she found encouragement from a close-knit artistic community of friends and family to follow her dreams, and at school she forged relationships that would teach her as much about her craft as her classes. She has collaborated with friends and mentors including Terra Naomi, Noah Gundersen, Chad Gilbert, and Conor Oberst. Indie rock-pop outfit, Soccer Mommy will open the show. 

Favorite tracks: “Motion Sickness,” “Scott Street”

Music Monday

World Cafe Live’s remaining lineup for June is filled with folk, country, rock, and jazz music! We’ve put together a Spotify playlist for you to listen to to help you decide which shows you might like to attend. The performers range from the genre-defying Ontario-based artist, poet, and musician Daniel Romano, to jazz, funk, soul, and pop artists of the Robert Glasper Experiment, to the experimental and environmentally conscious Cloud Cult, who seamlessly blend music and art in each of their performances. Check out their music (and much more!) on our Spotify.
“Roya” Daniel Romano (June 18)
Straight off of his latest album Modern Pressure, Daniel Romano’s song “Roya” is a catchy tune with rich harmonies and a classic rock feel. Romano’s sound can be compared to that of The Beatles and Jonny Fritz, and his talent of constructing interesting melodies, shapes, and lyrics is clearly displayed throughout this album. “Written in observational scrutiny beneath the overcast atmosphere of 2016, the record vigorously tackles the present-day heaviness we contain in the jotting bones of our guilty expressions. It pleads for the restoration of empathy and resonance, to fill the empty chamber once again.”
 
“Afro Blue” Robert Glasper Experiment (June 20)
From their 2012 album Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment’s song “Afro Blue” is the perfect blend of jazz, funk, and soul, and features the smooth vocals of Erykah Badu. Since releasing this album, the group has created two more albums and earned a great deal of success- they have dominated the jazz charts, won multiple R&B Grammy’s, and recorded and collaborated with artists such as Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson .Paak! This is definitely a show you don’t want to miss.
“No Hell” Cloud Cult (June 27)
“No Hell” is one of the many beautiful songs which is included on Cloud Cult’s latest album The Seeker, which has been deemed the bands best work by critics. “No Hell” is a “characteristically cathartic” song by Craig Minowa, who wrote it in order to get through particularly hard times. The entire album was also made into an award-winning feature length film which toured the film festival circuit in 2016. Cloud Cult will be performing the full score as the movie plays on screen on throughout the US, and we’re excited to be one of the venues to host this captivating show.