The brass-band sound is a proud tradition of New Orleans. But over the years, those horns have evolved to embrace a broader repertoire, full of funk and jazz and even a little hip-hop — and the sounds have migrated well beyond Louisiana. Take NO BS! Brass Band, whose core members met at Virgina Commonwealth University and proudly claim Richmond, Va. as their home base.

Walter Trout has been playing and sometimes living the blues for five decades. The guitarist was with Canned Heat in the early 1980s, shared the stage and recorded with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and sold millions of albums as a solo artist, but drugs and alcohol almost did him in. He was just days away from death last year when he received a liver transplant, an experience he recounts in a song called "Gonna Live Again."

This week, the 77-year-old New Orleans songwriter, producer and arranger Allen Toussaint died after a concert in Madrid. For most of his career, Toussaint preferred working behind the scenes, but our friend Gwen Thompkins met him at a time when he'd thrown himself into performing extensively around the world. Before they parted ways for what would be the last time, Toussaint gave Thompkins a gift: a demo recording of a song he never got to release, but said he wanted the world to hear.

FFS On World Cafe

Nov 13, 2015

FFS is two headliners in one: Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, whose song "Take Me Out" was a worldwide hit in 2004, plus the American pop-rock group Sparks, which was formed in 1972 by brothers Ron and Russell Mael.

Twenty-five years ago, the first album by A Tribe Called Quest hit record stores — and as soon as it dropped, it stood out. Even the title, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, felt like an iconoclast's mission statement.

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Rahim AlHaj: Tiny Desk Concert

Nov 13, 2015

Ancestor to the lute and the guitar, the oud ‎is an ancient stringed instrument commonly played throughout the Middle East, North Africa and countries like Greece and Turkey. The oud has charmed audiences for more than 5,000 years, and the tradition continues with this reverent performance by one of the world's best players, Rahim AlHaj.

EL VY On World Cafe

Nov 12, 2015

EL VY grew out of the writing that Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls had been working on together for the last few years. Lately, they've dedicated more time to their collaboration, and the result is a new album, Return To The Moon, and a nearly sold-out tour.