NPR Music

The Thistle & Shamrock: Nollaig

Dec 24, 2014

Enter the spirit of a traditional Scottish, Irish and Welsh Yuletide this week with Fiona Ritchie and special guest Cerys Matthews. The Welsh singer-songwriter and broadcaster has recorded "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas to mark the poet's centenary year. Matthews tells Fiona about the project, set to music she co-wrote with Mason Neely, and narrates excerpts from this timeless holiday classic. You'll also hear a set of reels played by fiddler Eileen Ivers, including "Christmas Eve."

Michel Petrucciani On Piano Jazz

Dec 24, 2014

Born with the genetic disease osteogenesis imperfecta, he only stood at three feet. But with hands unaffected by his disease and an extraordinary talent, Michel Petrucciani is one of the greatest French jazz pianists of all time.

An Americana Christmas On World Cafe

Dec 24, 2014

We have a wonderful collection of artists — friends old and new — visiting to perform music from the new compilation An Americana Christmas. We will hear a high-energy original by Nikki Lane, called "FaLaLaLaLove Ya." Robert Ellis covers a Willie Nelson classic. Ronnie Fauss adds to a growing history of "Christmas in prison" songs.

Judith Owen And Harry Shearer On World Cafe

Dec 24, 2014

For 15 years, singer-songwriter Judith Owen and her husband, humorist and actor Harry Shearer, have been hosting holiday singalongs at home and in venues throughout the country. Today, they're with us on the World Cafe. This year's edition is called Christmas Without Tears — originals, a Spın̈al Tap Christmas song and classics, all in an intimate in-studio performance.

You could never fully steal the show when you're followed by the blown-out spectacle of Sun Ra Arkestra's Tiny Desk Concert. But the opening act kept jumping on the piano and nibbling on the set, literally pulling up the carpet and leaving "presents" on the floor. How could we not have them back? Did I mention they're hamsters?

Chris Butler founded The Waitresses, a smart-aleck New Wave band, in late-'70s Akron, Ohio. He recalls a long-ago summer when the owner of ZE Records asked him and his collaborators to come up with a Christmas song.

Searching for Christmas music you've never heard before? Well, Mitchell Kezin is a collector of what he calls "Christmas orphans," those Christmas songs hardly played and mostly unknown. After being a closet collector of Christmas music for years, now he's directed a documentary about obsessive crate-diggers who specialize in rare Christmas music.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



All week this week, we've been exploring the process of composing for film. It's a series we're calling Scoring the Screen.


Haerts On World Cafe

Dec 23, 2014

Haerts, which stylizes its name with the a and e reversed, joins World Cafe in the studio today. Eccentric spelling is just one element that makes the electro-pop band stand out.

It's been an eventful year for Alt.Latino. We've brought you live concerts, dance music, protest songs and thought-provoking interviews with the performers who are helping to shape modern culture.

Regardless of your spiritual affiliations, the end of the year provides an opportunity to reflect on what we'd like to do differently next year, what we've learned, our successes and failures, and what makes us thankful.