World Cafe® “Sense of Place” Series to Explore Musical Hotspot of Denton, Texas

PHILADELPHIA (MARCH 28, 2023): For its latest “Sense of Place” series, the NPR-distributed daily music and interview program World Cafe will take listeners to Denton, Texas, long known for its vibrant live music scene. From April 4 through April 7, World Cafe listeners across the U.S. will hear about the north Texas town’s lively nightlife, groundbreaking collegiate jazz program, and two of its most notable bands.

Since 2011, the World Cafe team (based at public radio station WXPN/Philadelphia, which produces World Cafe) has visited musical hotspots around the globe, where they capture each city’s sights and sounds in exclusive studio sessions with local musicians and interviews with musical influencers. The resulting “Sense of Place” feature is heard on the 280 radio stations nationwide that carry World Cafe and online, with past sessions archived at World Cafe on NPR Music.

Content for the “Sense of Place: Denton” series was recorded during a visit there in February by World Cafe Host Raina Douris, Contributing Host Kallao, Senior Producer Kimberly Junod, and Producer Miguel Perez. The four episodes include:

Tuesday, April 4:  Dan’s Silverleaf in downtown Denton is where you can find live music almost every night of the week. To kick off the “Sense of Place: Denton” series, Host Raina Douris talks with the bar’s founder, Dan Mojica, who opened his first bar in Denton back in the ‘90s and has hosted artists ranging from Norah Jones to Slobberbone. Hear how Dan changed the city through his love of music, and what makes the Silverleaf a place artists (and audiences) keep coming back to.

One O’Clock Lab Band rehearsal at University of North Texas | Photo by World Cafe host Stephen Kallao

Wednesday, April 5: The first collegiate jazz program in the U.S. was born in Denton, Texas more than 75 years ago. But why there? This episode heads to the University of North Texas, home to the world-renowned One O’Clock Lab Band, the student jazz ensemble that’s been nominated for seven Grammys, and has toured the world and performed with countless jazz icons. Contributing Host Kallao attends a rehearsal and talks with the band’s director, Alan Baylock, to find out how Denton became an unlikely jazz Mecca. Some of the students also share about what it takes to make the cut. 

Thursday, April 6: Midlake formed over two decades ago out of the University of North Texas jazz program, but quickly moved away from that genre to embrace a more diverse set of influences. This episode of “Sense of Place: Denton” features an interview from the World Cafe archives from a decade ago, at a turning point moment for the band – when their original lead singer, Tim Smith, left in the middle of recording their fourth album, Antiphon. They talk about that change, what Denton means to them, and play live.

Friday, April 7:  Polka music has taken Brave Combo from Denton to some wild places — from Japan and an episode of The Simpsons to playing at David Byrne’s wedding. But this North Texas mainstay doesn’t play traditional polka; they play it hard and fast like a rock band. In this “Sense of Place: Denton” episode, Brave Combo’s Carl Finch and Jeffrey Barnes talk to World Cafe Host Raina Douris about why they love polka music, and why it might just be the most punk genre of all. (This episode will also be featured in the weekly Conversations From the World Cafe program.)

North Texas listeners can hear the “Sense of Place: Denton” series on KXT-FM 91.7 during its broadcast of World Cafe weeknights at 11 pm. To listen to “Sense of Place: Denton” online, go to More about World Cafe is also at

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