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.


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



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



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



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



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



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)



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


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.


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.


CHEF NOTES: Episode One


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.


As a Chef, one of the best compliments to your food is the perfect cocktail. One of my favorite collaborators is World Cafe Live Bar Manager and resident mixologist, Gabe Dullek.


RC: What do you feel like defines a mixologist and how do they differ from bartenders?
GD: Like a most bartenders, I’m reticent to embrace the term “mixologist”, even if it makes sense on paper. That’s probably because of the common perception surrounding it; it suggests an image of pretention that most of us don’t want to be associated with. Given the chance to rewrite popular perception, I’d define a mixologist as a bartender who also creates cocktail recipes and has a passion for the art of the cocktail.

RC: Where does your passion for spirits and cocktails stem from?
GD: I get most of my culinary appreciation from working with my dad, who’s been a chef for as long as I can remember. He’s always had a capital “R” Romantic view of cooking and treated it as his art that he had the opportunity to share. I can’t place the exact moment when I steered that same passion towards spirits, but after a few years in the industry, I started taking over the cocktail program at WCL. When I realized I had been reading cocktail books in my free time, I knew I’d caught the bug.

RC: What is your take on representing traditional recipes vs using personal creativity to put a twist on a classic?
GD: My love of history leads me to try more than my fair share of traditional cocktail preparations, and when I share those with other people, it feels like momentarily resurrecting the past. But the past isn’t necessarily sacred, and older isn’t necessarily better. That’s why it’s important to study context, learn from it, and expand upon it. Never stop improving what’s been done before.

RC: How do you encourage people who are less informed about the nuance of spirits and invite them in to try something new?
GD: I asked the same question of Derek Brown at a signing of his book “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters”. He told me that a bartender’s most important tool behind the bar is charm. If someone asks for a basic cocktail, offer to make them something better. Make it a collaboration between you and them. Bartending being a social career, you can usually pick up on whether someone will be receptive to that approach. The other key is to avoid being condescending. I treat my liquor knowledge with the same enthusiasm as a kid opening their toybox for something to show you.

RC: What is your favorite spirit to use in cocktail creation, and why?
GD: There’s a wide range of Italian Amari (bittersweet herbal liqueurs) out there, and maybe the best thing about them is that no two are alike. Take any cocktail and swap out the sweet ingredient for an Italian Amaro and it’ll result in a beautifully complex drink.

RC: What spirit in your opinion should never be mixed?
GD: Single malt Islay scotch. But in general, any spirit for which the aging process is part of the appeal. Those flavors can take a generation to develop, and they’re easily masked by additives. I won’t be so dramatic as to suggest that someone who enjoys their ten-year-old scotch with sprite is committing an act of sacrilege, but it would be wasteful.

RC: What spirit do you think is the most overlooked when creating cocktails?
GD: Vermouth has been relegated to this sad role of punching bag for martini drinkers. Probably because they’ve never had a good one or worse, had one that’s been sitting behind the bar way past its expiration date (refrigerate your vermouth, everybody). Like amaro, a decent vermouth can add complexity to almost any cocktail or be enjoyed on its own.

RC: How do you handle the challenges of high volume bartending, where there isn’t time to develop a conversation around each drink?
GD: The greatest challenge has been ensuring speed and ease of service without sacrificing quality; thankfully I have as much time to prepare as I’m willing to put in. I took inspiration from stories of Donn Beach, mixing and batching ingredients ahead of time to speed up service and guarantee consistency. I’ve been given the opportunity to continuously experiment with and improve those formulas and will continue to do so.


10 in 10

In the past 10 days we have held 10 sold out events–ranging from quizzos to benefit shows, and performances of all different genres in between! To thank you for keeping us so busy, we’re giving one lucky winner a 10 SHOW PASS! But first, a look back at our 10 monumental events…

2/18: Flor

Despite using their songs to explore feelings of longing, heartache, anxiety, and self-doubt, flor‘s synth-driven, alt-pop flooded Upstairs with positive energy as the audience bounced and sang along in unison.

2/18: Office Quizzo (2 sessions!)


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Not once, but twice in one day were people lined up all the way down to 30th Street for “The Office” Quizzo. We never anticipated this kind of response, and are so positively overwhelmed. Stay tuned for details regarding our next quizzo: “Parks and Recreation.”

2/20: Gin Blossoms


For more than two decades, Gin Blossoms have defined the sound of jangle pop. This year marked the 25th anniversary of their hit record, New Miserable Experience, and their celebratory performance just goes to show how timeless the tracks really are.

2/21: Phoebe Bridgers


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L.A.-based, folk-rock artist, Phoebe Bridgers, brought together people of all ages for a truly one-of-a-kind evening–twinkle lights warmly glowing as Bridgers captivated the audience with her songs of mourning, intimacy, and loneliness. Be sure to check out our recent interview with the rising star, as well as Time Out Philadelphia’s recap of Wednesday’s show.

2/22: Rhett Miller & Evan Felker


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On Thursday, Rhett Miller of Old 97’s and Evan Felker of Turnpike Troubadors joined one another on the Downstairs stage for a unique, acoustic song swap–playing stripped down versions of some of their bands’ popular songs as they both first envisioned them. In case you missed out, find out more about the evening via Time Out Philadelphia.

2/23: Travis Greene


Photo by: @jordanaytch

Growing up with a mother who was a minister and choir director, Travis Greene says that gospel music “was like oxygen in our house, always part of my life.” Likewise, Greene’s masterful fusion of music and ministry filled the air Downstairs on Friday night.

2/24: The Miners Breast Cancer Benefit

The Miners, Ballard Spahr Galactica, and Solar Plexus packed the Upstairs for Saturday’s Living Beyond Breast Cancer Benefit. It was really special seeing so many people come together to support such an important organization, as well as local artists.

2/25: Kids Rock Philly

The inaugural Kids Rock Philly brought together 400 kids from five regional Schools of Rock in a six hour festival-style concert across both our Upstairs and Downstairs Live stages. All proceeds went to the nonprofit in residence LiveConnections, which helps under-resourced schools in the area. Check out a video recap from 6ABC!

2/27: Tyler Childers


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People from all over came out for a care-free evening with Kentucky singer-songwriter, Tyler Childers, with Nashville’s Kelsey Waldon.

+ Bonus Sellout! Did you know that WCL also presents rising and national acts at other venues in the region? We were proud to bring the definitive Allman Brothers Tribute Band, Live at the Fillmore, to the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester on Friday, February 23rd to a sold out crowd.

Whether you made it out to one of these 10 events, or you’ve joined us in the past for a concert, beer fest, quizzo, benefit show, live podcast, poetry reading, and beyond – THANK YOU!

Tag a friend in our recent Facebook post for your chance to win a 10 SHOW PASS–allowing you and a guest to attend any 10 WCL shows through the end of the year for FREE!

Interview: Conjunto Philadelphia

Our monthly Havana Nights series features authentic Cuban cuisine, cocktails, and music courtesy of Philly’s most exciting Cuban band, Conjunto Philadelphia. If you haven’t been to one yet, we’ve got three Fridays left for the year – October 6, November 3, & December 1. Admission is FREE but reservations are recommended. We caught up with Conjunto’s Musical Director Jeff Torchon – read the full interview below!

WCL: What inspired you to start studying Cuban music and how did you come to form the band Conjunto?

Jeff: It’s been close to ten years now since I started pursuing my passion for Cuban music. During my freshman year of college at Temple University, I was introduced to the Buena Vista Social Club documentary. This film tells the story of older Cuban musicians who were forgotten about after the Cuban Revolution and chronicles their work to showcase Cuban music throughout the world towards the end of the twentieth century. The music resonated with me in such a way no music had ever done before. It was infectious, intriguing, innovative, and – most of all – magical. The sounds were a melting pot of West African, European and Spanish cultures, and this piqued my curiosity – I just had to know more.

I spent a great deal of time exploring Cuban music by listening to recordings, learning the songs on the piano and reading about the music. In 2010, I brought together a group of local jazz musicians and held a concert at a local jazz club performing the music of the Buena Vista Social Club. This was my first public foray into the music and it was a success. After this concert, I had the impetus to travel to Cuba to continue my studies. It was not easy at the time for a college student to travel to Cuba on his own, so I did the next best thing in my mind – I traveled to Miami to research and study Cuban music with musicians in Little Havana. I studied with some amazing Cuban musicians and learned about so much more that Cuba had to offer than the Buena Vista Social Club. My eyes were open to the incredible wealth of music that existed from Cuba – Miguel Matamoros, Beny More, Arsenio Rodriguez, Orquesta América, Enrique Jorrín – and how that music influenced Jazz and other popular music in our country. I came back to Philadelphia with an even stronger passion for Cuban music – wanting to formalize the band that I had put together earlier that year as well as find a way to travel to Cuba legally.

I was able to officially found, Conjunto Philadelphia, my Cuban music group that performs regularly in the Philadelphia area and has become my outlet for exploring Cuban music. This band still exists today and performs all around the Philadelphia region. Our mission is to pay homage to Cuba’s deep and treasured musical history and perform it in a way that is true to its origins. The band, after having been together for seven years now, is an active organization within the Philadelphia area. We have performed at Chris’ Jazz Café, Longwood Gardens, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Penn Museum, the Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May, and the World Cafe Live (where we perform on the first Friday of each month for their Havana Nights Cuban music series). We have gained a strong following in the region and are lucky to be one of the few groups performing this type of music. You can visit our website for upcoming concert dates or for more information about the band:

Your Master’s thesis was on “Cha-cha-cha”! Can you tell us a little about this and how do people react when you say you’re a master in Cha-Cha-Cha!

Yes! This was an incredible experience. Here is my abstract from my Thesis:

One of the most distinctive musical genres that originated in Cuba over the last century has been Cha-Cha-Chá, which was created by Enrique Jorrín in the 1950s. The popularity of this music has grown considerably since its genesis, evidenced by the vast array of repertoire associated with the style of music, the multitude of bands performing it and its prevalence in popular culture. The music has traveled the world via aural transmission; advances in technology have helped to disseminate Cha-Cha-Chá and have contributed to its prevalence. Very little research—particularly research written in the English language—exists on this genre and its creator. Due to its musical significance and social impact, it is important to understand Cha-Cha-Chá’s place in modern Cuba and how it has been preserved over time. The purpose of this study is to discuss Enrique Jorrín’s influence on the creation and performance of Cha-Cha-Chá, and to discuss the importance of Cha-Cha-Chá in American music education.

What many people don’t realize is that the Cha-Cha-Chá is a uniquely Cuban music and dance style that originated on the island in the early 1950’s. It comes out of the Danzón style of music that was popular in Cuba during 1940s. These rhythms were tweaked and evolved to become what is known today as Cha-Cha-Chá. My Thesis not only explored the musical style of Cha-Cha-Chá, how it developed and was created, but also how it could be incorporated and used in music education here in the United States. Since my degree was in Music Education and I am a full-time music teacher (Middle and High School) at Germantown Friends School, this connection between Cuban music and Music Education seemed timely and appropriate.

You’ve traveled to Cuba many times, describe some of your musical experiences there.

My trips to Cuba have been incredible. I was also able to travel to Cuba and have since taken five trips to the island. Most of my adventures were categorized as people-to-people trips by the US government and allowed me to explore the music, culture and history of the island. These trips all consisted of a detailed itinerary set by the tour company that promoted cultural exchange between the participants and the Cuban people. We were not able to deviate from these itineraries during the day due to US regulations on Cuba travel (these regulations are still in place today). We were able to go out to hear music at night on the trips – we heard some incredible music! While these trips were enlightening, I did not have the freedom I would have liked to explore on my own. Luckily, I was able to travel to Cuba again as a graduate researcher and was able to move about freely to explore. I interviewed many musicians about their musical experiences, studied the music in-depth, and truly created an engaging and holistically musical experience for myself. The knowledge that I brought back contributed to the writing of my Masters Thesis on Cuban Cha-Cha-Chá and its implications for use in United States Music Education as well as my general understanding and studies of Cuban music.

One of the highlights of my trips was the ability to interact with Cuban musicians in the various music clubs, bars and restaurants. So many of these places have live music in Cuba and it was so incredible to listen to the music (all traditional Son, Cha-Cha-Chá and Bolero) as well as share that I am a jazz pianist from Philadelphia and like Cuban music. As soon as I mentioned that, I was invited to play with them. Much to the shock of many of the musicians I met, I was able to play the Cuban songs that they knew and played regularly! We had a lot of fun in those moments. One place in particular, Café Paris, which is a small club/bar in Old Havana, gave me the opportunity to play many times during my travels. I had gone in there a few years back on one of my first trips to play and then hadn’t been back for a few years. When my wife and I went back to Havana in December 2016, we went to Café Paris. I hadn’t remembered the musicians’ names or anything at all and we were just listening from our seats. The bass player made eye contact with me and motioned as if to ask me if I wanted to play the keyboard. I nodded my head and he invited me up. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak enough Spanish to have a full conversation – but we communicated with the language of music. It was pretty awesome!

How’s the food?

The food is wonderful. Cuba has a unique endeavor called Paladars. These are privately-owned restaurants (which is not very common in Cuba because everything is owned by the government). These restaurants started out being 3 or 4 tables in people’s private houses (living rooms). Now, many Paladars are what we would consider in the US to be normal restaurants with full dining rooms and reservations taken well in advance. The food is heavy with rice and beans, seafood and meat. These Paladars get quality ingredients from local organic farms and have great tasting food. The food isn’t always the spiciest because of lack of resources, but it is quite good!

Do they really drink mojitos in Cuba?

Yes! The Mojito is a very popular drink in Cuba and Rum is very cheap in Cuba. While Mojitos are popular among the tourists, I’m not sure how many Cubans drink Mojitos as opposed to straight Rum (Havana Club brand – which you can bring back from Cuba now!). Sugar is one of Cuba’s largest crops and because of that, it is cheap to have and cheap to make rum as well.

List the 5 essential artists/albums you would recommend to introduce people to Cuban music and why they are so important.

Beny More – one of greatest band leaders and vocalists ever to come out of Cuba. Popular in the 1940s – he was the lead singer for his own group that had a banda gigantic (big band) similar to the Jazz Big Bands. Popular song to check out: “Como Fue”

Arsenio Rodriguez – popular três guitar player in Cuba in the 1940s and the 1950s. Great dance band that would perform all over Cuba, and especially in Havana. Ruben Gonzalez, pianist of the Buena Vista Social Club, got his start in this band. Arsenio’s group was the original “Conjunto” format, incorporating the piano and tres as well as Congas into an ensemble with the clave rhythm being very much a part of the groove. Popular song: “Rincón Caliente”

Buena Vista Social Club – this iconic group from the mid-1990s brought traditional Cuban music (Son, Cha-Cha-Chá, Bolero and Danzón) back into the world spotlight. Musicians in this group were some of the most famous ever to exist in Cuba and were all brought together to perform this timeless music. Notable songs include: “Chan Chan” or “El Cuarto De Tula”

Bebo Valdes – One of the best Cuban pianists ever to live. He was the director of the Tropicana Nightclub orchestra in the 1940s and 1950s – left Cuba shortly after the revolution and ended up in obscurity until the 1990s when he was rediscovered and recorded many albums. He is the father to the great Chucho Valdes and is one of the most underrated Cuban pianists of all time (in my opinion). Song to listen to: “La Comparsa”

Enriqure Jorrín – Known as the creator of Cha-Cha-Chá, he played in both Orquesta America and then his own group, Orquesta Jorrín. Great bandleader and violinist and composer. Notable songs include: “Silver Star” and “La Engañadora”

What’s next for the band? We hear you’re working on an album.

The band and I are currently embarking on a new project to travel to Cuba and share our music with the Cuban people. This cultural exchange opportunity would be an amazing chance to bridge our two cultures and tear down the walls of politics, bringing us together as humans to share music and cultural ideas. It would also be an incredible opportunity for us to show the Cuban people that a group of musicians from the United States is trying to uphold their musical heritage to the best of our ability. While in Cuba, we plan to record the band’s first album at EGREM studios, where the Buena Vista Social Club recorded their music in the 1990s. This is also the studio where many other famous Cuban musicians recorded their music during the twentieth century. If you are interested in helping us achieve this project, please consider giving to our GoFundMe project at

We love it, you love it, why should everyone love Conjunto’s Havana Nights at WCL?

Havana Nights have really become a great way for Conjunto Philadelphia to bring their music to World Cafe Live and reach a wider audience. The nights have been packed with reservations at the tables and full dance floors as well. It’s really quite a success and we are looking forward to continuing to offer our music at World Cafe Live moving forward. Each time we do Havana Nights we make it more and more culturally connected to Cuban culture. There are Cuban drink specials, Cuban food specials that hint at Cuban food items, a place for folks to dance to the Cuban rhythms and sounds and a band (the only one in Philadelphia) that performs solely the music of Cuba from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. We are honored to be a part of this event series and can’t wait to play again!

Staff Pick: Bill Laurance in Philly 1/31

Bill Laurance is a modern day musical renaissance man. In addition to being the long time pianist of the internationally-acclaimed and Grammy-award winning jazz ensemble Snarky Puppy, Bill Laurance has released multiple acclaimed solo albums, works extensively with dance companies, owns his own music production company specializing in scoring for film, TV and commercials, and is a specialist lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary Music in London. His music, much like that of Snarky Puppy’s, seamlessly blends several genres into a transcendental journey that takes you to a new other-worldly state of mind with every song. A fantastic example of this is the live studio recording of his song “December in New York” off of his 2015 solo album Swift. His articulate piano playing perfectly captures the ebb and flow of the city that never sleeps as he gracefully and effortlessly maneuvers through intricate melodies and graceful harmonic textures behind a dynamic jazz ensemble. His playing is so precise and impeccable it’s hard to believe someone can play that well in a studio, let alone live! The journey his music takes you on just listening to it is extraordinary, so one can only imagine what it would be like to experience that live, which is why you should catch him downstairs at WCL Philly on January 31st!

-Nick DiGiacomo, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Maybird in Philly 12/1

The music genre of modern psychedelia has been expanding rapidly within the past decade.  Artists such as Tame Impala and The Flaming Lips have popularized psychedelic rock by adding a modern twist to classic styles from the past.  Maybird is one of those bands that can be included into this category.  Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, the band was formed when singer-songwriter Josh Netsky joined with pedal-steel guitarist Kurt Johnson.  They sought to move towards a more laid back, psychedelic vibe than Netsky previously had in his solo project.  The band’s sound, having memorable guitar leads and lush vocal harmonies, can be described as energetic, noisy and hallucinatory.  Oftentimes, in songs like “Maybird,” their catchy pop rock structured songs turn into free, mind-expanding jams by the end.  The group’s lead single, “Turning Into Water,” is a fun, twangy trip through time and space.  The band is also known for their eclectic live performances.  Band member Sam Snyder was given the nickname “Overhand Sam” for his unorthodox style of guitar playing.  Maybird is currently on an east coast tour supporting their 2016 release Turning Into Water EP.  For fans of The Strokes and Electric Light Orchestra. Catch Maybird Upstairs in Philly on December 1st!

-Evan Cook, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: SALES in Philly 10/11

Catchy, minimalistic, heartfelt, and honest are all words to describe the two-piece pop band SALES.  From their hometown of Orlando, Florida, SALES is currently on tour promoting their self-released, self-titled first full length LP.  Vocalist Lauren Morgan’s subdued voice over a steady electronic drum machine, filled out by reverbed guitars give a sense of familiarity while still presenting the listener with a fresh sound.  Songs like “Ivy” and “Crash” will leave you wanting to relax in your bedroom for hours while submitting to guitarist Jordan Shih’s twinkly, melodic riffs.  As the album progresses, the duo begins to adventure more into trip-hop territory with songs like “Big Sis” and “Mondays”.  Although clearly influenced by a lot of contemporary indie artists, at certain points throughout the record (such as the short interlude “Be My Baby”) the duo gives a nod to more classic pop/rock artists of the past.  For fans of bands such as Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Youth Lagoon, this lo-fi two-piece will not disappoint.  Do not sleep on this up-and-coming group, for they will be sure to gain more popularity in the near future.  Make sure to grab your tickets for their performance at World Cafe Live downstairs in Philadelphia on October 11.

-Evan Cook, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Sara Watkins

Keeping work close to home, Sara Watkins started her musical career in the band Nickel Creek alongside her brother Sean. After dedicating much of her musical career to the established folk band, Sara decided it was time to go solo in 2007 showing off her songwriting skills in new tracks that kept her folk roots while adding pop and rock influences. Watkins’ relateable voice has the innocent sweetness of an alto, layered with a rough texture that makes her always seem impassioned in speech. These qualities are only strengthened by her experienced and eloquent lyricism.With the release of her third solo album Young In All The Wrong Ways, Watkins continues to weave stories that leave you feeling like you know her. Though each song tells its own tale, the album conveys a message of moving forward with your life while leaving mistakes and regrets in the past. This self-proclaimed “breakup album with [her]self” is a story of forward momentum. With emotionally fueled tracks like “Move Me” and the more melancholy “Invisible”, Sara Watkins is laying her heart out for us all to relate to and empathize with. We’re ecstatic to welcome Sara Watkins to WCL Philly on September 28th. Tickets are on sale now!

-Kara DeLucia, Marketing Intern