“It’s Kind of Like God has Died”: Read David Dye’s thoughts on the passing of Pete Seeger

Pete-Seeger-With-Voices-Together-We-SingWhen news broke early this morning that iconic folk singer and activist Pete Seeger died yesterday at the age of 94, one of the first responses we saw was a Tweet from WXPN’s David Dye, host of World Cafe:

Dye expanded on these thoughts later today on World Cafe’s Tumblr page:

Like everybody else,  I woke up this morning to the news of Pete Seeger’s death.  Against all reason, I never really thought this would happen.

After absorbing Pete’s passing for a few minutes, I turned to my wife and said, “It’s kind of like God has died.”

Not being particularly religious, I realize that Pete Seeger’ s life and beliefs have come to represent a set of principles that have helped guide my life.

He shared more about his personal discovery of Seeger’s music as a young man, talked of getting to meet him in the 90s, and went into some more detail about that college admissions essay:

Even back in 1968, there was so much to write about, Pete’s life was already and always amazing. The son of a New England intellectual devoted his life to folk music and support of justice on all fronts. He had already been banned from television for 17 years for his beliefs. Thanks to The Smothers Brothers and Johnny Cash, who we posted earlier, he got back on the air singing his indelible songs, still standing by those beliefs. That wasn’t so long ago. Banning doesn’t happen so much anymore. I think we can give Pete some of the credit.

In the end, Dye proposed a tribute to Seeger that is at once very modern, timeless, and couldn’t be more fitting for a man who wanted to unite the country and the world in song. Read Dye’s entire response to Seeger’s death here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Glenn Tilbrook at World Cafe Live, Funky Blues Finale w/ James Cotton and David Dye at TLA, mewithoutYou at Musikfest Cafe

Squeeze80s British power pop sensation (and former Squeeze frontman) Glenn Tilbrook is playing at World Cafe Live tonight. Tilbrook has been touring the UK and U.S. in support of his upcoming solo release, expected to be out later this year. Find more information and tickets for tonight’s all ages event here. Watch as Tilbrook and his crew arrive to the states in his 2013 tour video below, and prepare for the show by listening to Tilbrook’s 2001 acoustic version of “Tempted” below.

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David Dye’s Sense of Place trip to Rio uncovers the second most recorded song ever

The Veloso Bar in Rio
The Veloso Bar in Rio
Who is the girl “that swings so cool and sways so gentle?” That’s “tall and tan and young and lovely?” Why, it’s “The Girl From Ipanema”, of course.

Helô Pinheiro, The Girl From Ipanema - Photograph: Barcroft Media
Helô Pinheiro, The Girl From Ipanema – Photograph: Barcroft Media

When David Dye and World Cafe went to Brazil for Sense of Place: Rio, they had a chance to find out more about the world’s most iconic Bossa Nova song. Written by composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinicius De Morae, the duo were inspired to compose the song by a teenage girl named Heloisa Eneida Menezes Pais Pinto, a native of Rio, in 1962. According to writer Bill DeMain in Performing Songwriter, the song was written at the Veloso Bar (pictured above), a short walk from the beach at Ipanema. It didn’t start out as “The Girl From Ipanema,” however. What began as a song for a musical comedy took a unique twist all because of “the girl.”

Jobim and de Moraes were stalled two verses in on the song they called “Menina que Passa” (“The Girl Who Passes By”). They needed a fresh breeze of inspiration, something vivid to stir their blood. Conjuring up the vision of their favorite hip-swaying distraction, they poured out all their secret longing and lust into the newly titled “Garota da Ipanema.”

The rest is history. When it was recorded by Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz and João Gilberto in 1964 on the Getz/Gilberto album, English lyrics were added to the song and it became a Top 5 hit song, bringing the sounds of Brazil to the world. It won a number of Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Record of The Year for “The Girl From Ipanema.”

“The Girl From Ipanema” is the second most recorded song ever. Andy Williams, Amy Winehouse, Kenny G, Sammy Davis, Jr., The B-52’s, Louis Armstrong, Cher, the Charles Watts and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and the Four Tops are just some who have covered it. And in case you were wondering, the most recorded song ever is “Yesterday” by The Beatles. David Dye has chosen some killer versions of “The Girl From Ipanema” for you below. From David:

Here is Stan Getz on sax (in a killer cardigan) and Astrud Gilberto playing the song in gorgeous metrocolor in the film Get Yourself A College Girl (and yes, that’s Gary Burton on vibes)

Among the historically important versions of “The Girl From Ipanema” is this one with Frank and Tom (Sinatra and Jobim) in concert.

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Sense of Place: David Dye’s 10 Brazilian Albums That You Have To Hear

beliza coverThis week on World Cafe with David Dye is Sense of Place: Rio. Combining performances, interviews, videos and an interactive map of Rio, the trip included stops in Rio and Salvador. Check out the segments here as David traces Brazilian music to its source and presents exclusive behind the scenes snapshots of the vibrant, colorful, and diverse Brazilian music scene in sound and vision. As a musical companion for Sense of Place, we asked David to pull together a list of “must hear” Brazilian records. Continue reading →


Listen to David Dye’s essential Sense of Place: Brazil classics

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 8.18.23 AM This week on World Cafe, David Dye highlights the sounds of Brazil for the latest World Cafe Sense of Place: Brazil. While much of the action takes place in Rio, some of the featured interviews will include sessions with Os Mutantes, Seu Jorge, Samba Chula de São Braz, Do Amor, Sylvia Frago, and Philly’s very own Alo Brazil.. Videos, interviews, performances and photos for Sense of Place are here. Below, listen to a collection of some essential Brazilian songs, curated in a Spotify playlist by David, and watch a performance from Samba Chula de São Braz, recorded in Salvador. Listen this week to Sense of Place: Brazil all week long on World Cafe with David Dye at 2PM ET on WXPN.

Samba Chula de São Braz – “Ao Reconcavo” from WXPN FM on Vimeo.


My Morning Download: “End of The Earth” by Lord Huron (from a new limited time only World Cafe sampler)

Lord Huron did an interview and performance on World Cafe with David Dye last November, 2012. You can listen to the session here. Below, download “Ends Of The Earth” from that session. The song is from a new collection of Cafe performances available for a very limited time during the month of February. Each weekday during the month World Cafe will offer one free song from a recent session. By February 22 there will be 20 new exclusive songs for you to enjoy. Here’s the catch: They are ONLY going to be available for the month, on March 1 they will disappear like Spring snow! Below, download the Lord Huron song; Go here to download tracks from Calexico, Allen Stone and others.


From the Pages of JUMP: Jessie Ware brings back World Cafe memories at Union Transfer

JessieWare01Emerging UK pop singer Jessie Ware made her Philadelphia debut at Union Transfer Friday night. Writer and photographer Grace Dickinson of JUMP Philly was there covering the scene, which included Ware taking a moment during the show to reminisce about her first visit to Philly – singing backup for Jack Penate during his World Cafe session. Grace reports:

JessieWare03JessieWare02JessieWare04JessieWare05After playing with The Roots earlier in the week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, soul-singer Jessie Ware hopped from NYC to Philadelphia for a performance at Union Transfer. Opening with Devotion, Ware sang nearly her entire EP, If You’re Never Gonna Move, along with a few other tracks from her UK released album, also titled Devotion, to be released in the states this April.

The Friday night show drew a fairly packed crowd, though was the only one not to sell out on her U.S. tour. It was the South Londoner’s first time headlining as a solo artist here but Ware let the audience know it wasn’t her first Philadelphia performance.

“When I decided to be a singer, I quit my 9-5 job and became a back-up singer,” explained Ware, referencing her former days touring with English musician Jack Peñate. “My first stop was Philadelphia and we did World Café. It’s been very romantic for me to be back here tonight.”

Ware made a visit back to World Café earlier in the afternoon for a session with David Dye, this time performing songs off of her own record.

Prior to her solo debut, Ware also acted as a back-up singer for Joker, along with SBTRKT (Aaron Jerome). For SBTRKT, Ware eventually ended up singing lead on the British producer’s 2010 single “Nervous,” a single that led Ware to her own label deal with PMR.

The 28-year-old is frequently compared to the likes of other powerful, female UK soloists popular in the states, like Adele and Sade. She definitely has that same soulful feel, akin also to English vocalist Joss Stone, though with a dubstep influence likely linked to her days with SBTRKT. Continue reading →


Memphis Sense of Place: American Sound Studio, then and now

All week on World Cafe with David Dye, the Sense of Place series is exploring the city of Memphis and its musical heritage. Today, David Dye is exploring the late great American Sound Studio, where Elvis Presley recorded his final number-one hit, “Suspicious Minds,” in 1969. Above, check out a photo of the studio in its heyday. Below, see the studio in the mid-80s, and a video tour of the room shot in 1987. At the bottom, see what the site of American Sound Studio looks like today. You can listen to the Sense of Place series on WXPN at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday all this week, or at 7 p.m. on XPN2: Singer-Songwriter Radio. Continue reading →


Memphis Sense of Place: Download Rev. John Wilkins performance of “Prodigal Son”

All week on World Cafe with David Dye, the Sense of Place series is exploring the city of Memphis and its musical heritage. Today, we listen in on the World Cafe concert recorded with Memphis  blues musician Rev. John Wilkins. Below, download his performance of “Prodigal Son,” written by his father, Rev. Robert Wilkins, later recorded by The Rolling Stones on Beggar’s Banquet. You can listen to the Sense of Place series on WXPN at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday all this week, or at 7 p.m. on XPN2: Singer-Songwriter Radio.


Memphis Sense of Place: David Dye’s top five sites

All week on World Cafe with David Dye, the Sense of Place series is exploring the city of Memphis and its musical heritage. Today, David Dye shares his top five Memphis sites. You can listen to the Sense of Place series on WXPN at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday all this week, or at 7 p.m. on XPN2: Singer-Songwriter Radio.

Some more of the places you should not miss on any Memphis visit: Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum were the two most defining visits of our trip. Spend a Sunday morning at Reverend Al’s. And Leavitt Shell is a beautiful outdoor venue. Continue reading →