Talia Schlanger

Talia Schlanger is a host and radio producer at World Cafe, produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. Schlanger joins the World Cafe team straight from CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, where she hosted a triple-A radio show on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She was the on-camera host for two seasons of the CBC television series CBC Music: Backstage Pass, which saw her interview some of Canada's best and brightest artists. Schlanger also hosted several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor featuring Serena Ryder, CBC Music SongCamp and the CBCMusic.ca Festival Special 2015. Schlanger served as the the interim host of CBC Radio 2's Canada Live and was a regular guest host on CBC Radio One's flagship artist and culture show q. She also filled in on Canadian current-affairs radio shows including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Some of her favorite music interviews include St. Vincent, Tanya Tagaq, John Fogerty, Barenaked Ladies and Grimes.

Schlanger's first project at CBC was as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip which won a Canadian Screen Award in 2014. She was also the digital producer for Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest, CBC Music's search for the next great hockey song.

Born and raised in Toronto, Schlanger is a proud alumna of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program. She's also a professional actress, singer and voiceover artist. Schlanger spent most of 2012 performing in the first national tour of Green Day's rock opera, American Idiot, at various theatres throughout the United States. (She thought she would be really cool when she met Billie Joe Armstrong after he watched American Idiot. She was not cool at all.) She has also performed on stage with Mirvish Productions' original Canadian company of We Will Rock You, as well as in the ensemble and understudying lead roles in Scaramouche, Oz (Canon Theatre, 2007/2008), and in Mamma Mia! (Royal Alexandra Theatre, 2003/2004).

Back in 2012, Thomas Walmsley and James Bagshaw took a couple songs they had been working on in a home studio in a small town in England, and uploaded them to YouTube. Before they even had a full band, they had fans, gigs and a handshake record deal. They called themselves Temples — and they unleashed a full-length debut, Sun Structures, in February 2014. Drenched in '60s and '70s guitar-based psychedelia, the album was instantly loved.

For someone whose music evokes a nighttime Nick Drake drenched in blue, Leif Vollebekk has a surprisingly light sense of humor. It's on full display in this World Cafe session, and so are his warm bath of a voice, his fluid command of synths and guitar and his thoughtful poetry. Here, Vollebekk performs songs from his third full-length album, Twin Solitude, the follow-up to 2013's North Americana.

Robert Randolph has built an entire life and career on the gospel that music is religion. His musical education began in Orange, N.J., at the Pentecostal House of God church, where the walls ring out with a lively, powerful style of music called sacred steel. It's based around the pedal steel guitar — a 13-string instrument that found its way into African-American churches in the 1930s, and has since become an integral part of praise.

Danish songwriter Agnes Obel's session might give you the shivers for more than one reason. Her latest album, Citizen Of Glass, was named for a pretty eerie concept. "I got the idea from the German term gläserner mensch, which is the term you use when an individual in a state has lost all his or her privacy," she says.

Note: The audio version of this interview touches on sensitive topics, including Steve Jones' experiences of drug addiction and sexual abuse.

Think back to your college days and you can probably name at least one band that got together in its members' dorm rooms and played a couple of sweaty late nights at the local campus dive bar, but didn't make it past graduation. If that's the college-bar-band rule, Arkells is the exception. The band formed more than a decade ago in the dorms at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and last week it returned to that same city to headline its first sold-out arena show. It was a full-circle moment for a band that's earned its fans one bead of sweat at a time.

Relationships are hard work. Music is hard work. And somehow, these magical musical couples manage to make both work at the same time. It's beautiful, it's enviable and it deserves celebrating. So happy Valentine's Day from World Cafe to these 10 past guests: lovebirds who are also bandmates.

Hear the Valentine's Day special in the player above and stream the complete sessions from the World Cafe archives below.


Break out the tissues, because Aurora says, "I have always enjoyed watching my songs make people cry."

Ty Segall is never predictable. He's a rock 'n' roll shape-shifter who has dabbled in experimental garage, British-influenced space rock, fuzzed-out acoustic folk and psych-pop. He has performed entire shows wearing a rubber baby mask, he's dressed as a mad scientist while explaining a concept he calls "emotional mugging" and, just for kicks, he's filmed himself smashing a toilet with producer Steve Albini.

For their debut album, the members of The Shelters got as good a helping hand as it gets: Tom Petty gave the band the keys to his recording studio and an invitation to open up for his band Mudcrutch on tour.

Bobby Rush is one of the last living blues legends of his generation. He toured the South and the chitlin' circuit in the '50s and was often forced to perform music behind a curtain for white audiences. Shortly before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rush heard through fellow Chicago bluesman J.B.

In 2014, Angel Olsen reportedly told her publicist that she didn't want to do any more photo shoots in front of trees. That was the year she released her breakout record Burn Your Fire For No Witness, a melancholy heartbreaker that, in some cases, got her pigeonholed as a sad country singer. And lonely photos in front of trees weren't helping.

'Tis right around Christmas and wherever you go
It's "Run Rudolph Run," "Jingle Bells," "Let It Snow"

And while classics are great, and you love them no doubt
You may feel a little bit jingle belled out

But don't fret, for musical Santa is here!
With a playlist that brings you hip holiday cheer!

Hey Rosetta! delights with a sweet, heartfelt jam
Plus Sufjan Stevens with some holiday Ham...mond

In 1981 in Osaka, Japan, three young women with a shared love of the Ramones, The Beatles and the Buzzcocks decided to quit their office jobs and start a band. 35 years later, the members of Shonen Knife have cemented their status as cult heroes and pop-punk icons.

On the cover of Aaron Lee Tasjan's new record Silver Tears, he almost looks the perfect picture of an Americana star. He's wearing a cowboy hat, he's got a brooding expression and he's walking thoughtfully under a cloudy sky. And then there's the Bonanza-meets-disco-ball suit. Bejeweled with hand-glued pieces of mirror, it's a fitting outfit for an artist whose avant-garde and often irreverent approach reflects Americana back at itself.

In 2013, the Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan and his wife, filmmaker Marilena Delli, traveled to the African country Malawi to record the music of inmates at the maximum-security Zomba Central Prison. They came back with a stunning collection of song-stories that made up the Grammy-nominated record I Have No Everything Here.

This week, Phil Collins released a memoir called Not Dead Yet. As if to prove the title's truth, he also announced new tour dates. Collins isn't dead yet, nor are many of his pioneering contemporaries — in fact, boomer musicians seem to be having a bit of a pop-culture moment.

In the "Raincoats" episode of Seinfeld, when Jerry describes his pal Elaine's new boyfriend as "a bit of a close talker," he doesn't mean it as a compliment. Jerry describes the ultimate social sinner who has no concept of personal space, who is so invasive that when he speaks he forces everyone around him to lean back lest they find themselves on a first-name basis with his pores.

Leonard Cohen's new album, You Want It Darker, certainly delivers on the promise of its title. It's a meditation on mortality that soars to the highest of musical heights and sinks to the lowest of vocal and existential depths. The record is truly one of the 82-year-old Cohen's best — and it was produced by his son, fellow musician Adam Cohen.

Talia here with a "longtime listener, first-time caller" moment. I've admired David Dye from afar for years, so I was thrilled when he welcomed me to make my first on-air appearance as the new Contributing Host on World Cafe. We talked about my past work as a host at the CBC, my history as a professional head-banger and our shared love of small venues. David was even gracious enough to let me spin a couple tunes.

Hi, World Cafe fans! I just moved to the U.S. from Toronto, Canada, to become World Cafe's new contributing host and producer. Yes, I'm from Drake's hometown. And yes, that's the most frequently asked question since I've been here. But if your musical knowledge north of the 49th parallel doesn't extend past Drizzy and The Six, you're in luck. I brought a pile of musical gifts across the border with me.

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