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NPR's World Cafe Visits Detroit

October 21, 2013

Producer Don Was and Detroit hip-hop artist Mike Ellison at the WDET studios. Photo credit: Ann Delisi

"We took our Sense of Place series to Detroit for the rich history of Motown and The Stooges and White Stripes, but also because we had heard so many young people talk about the city’s cultural renaissance, and we found both." - World Cafe host David Dye

World Cafe visited Detroit earlier this year to experience the sounds of the Motor City. WDET opened up our studios for the team and we were proud to be one of their partners on this series. We'll be airing sessions and interviews on WDET soon. In the meantime, enjoy all of the interactive content below!

Touring Detroit with Don Was

"If you really want to get to the core of modern Detroit music, you've really got to go to John Lee Hooker...I think [he] really epitomizes everything you need to know about Detroit music: it's raw, it's unfiltered, it's totally concerned with feel and soul, and not concerned about precision."
- Don Was

World Cafe spent the afternoon with legendary Detroit producer Don Was. Was defined the Detroit sound by taking it back to Detroit's jazz age in the Black Bottom. He took World Cafe on a tour of Detroit's musical landmarks in the video below.

Recording Mike Ellison at the WDET Studios

Don Was and Alex Trajano produced a recording session with local recording artist Mike Ellison at the WDET studios during World Cafe's visit. World Cafe captured a great recording of his performance of "Stepping Into Destiny":

SLIDESHOW: Go inside the session with photos from taken by Ann Delisi

Detroit Artists Featured on World Cafe

World Cafe has included a wide array of Detroit artists on their show. Click any of the artists below to hear their featured episode.

What other Detroit music artists and landmarks should people know about? Tell us in the comments!

Go Deeper

Detroit Photo Gallery

Interactive Map of Detroit
Explore the places that World Cafe visited in this interactive map that features video tours of Detroit landmarks including The DIA, Motown Museum, PJ's Lager House, The Heidelberg Project, MBAD's African Bead Museum and more.