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Villagers On World Cafe

Conor O'Brien, who performs as Villagers.
Conor O'Brien, who performs as Villagers.

Irish singer-songwriter Conor O'Brien, who performs as Villagers, has made three albums that have all hit Number 1 at home in Ireland, including his 2015 album, Darling Arithmetic. What's different this time has less to do with the fact that he's performing with a band and more to do with how he sees himself.

In the past, O'Brien says, he was not completely comfortable in his performing persona and his writing because he was unable to be straightforward about being gay. His new openness has made a big difference in his music — and has led to some engaging stories about how people have reacted to him, which he relates in today's session.

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