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Listen to Richard Thompson Play Songs From ’13 Rivers’ on World Cafe

[NPR World Cafe]

By Talia Schlanger

For more than 50 years, guitar and songwriting giant Richard Thompson has twisted the traditions of British folk, shattered the boundaries of genre and stretched the limitations of human hands.

Thompson visited World Cafe to perform songs from his 19th solo album, 13 Rivers, which is full of explosive and evocative songs that illuminate the human condition. Thompson shared insights about his craft and what he’s learned about it through teaching at his acoustic guitar and songwriting camp Frets and Refrains. He revealed his favorite TV show for noodling on guitar, and what Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I Did It Again” has musically in common with 16th century dance music, and a whole lot more. Thompson also spoke about his longtime practice of Sufism, a form of Islamic mysticism. Hear it in the player.