Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Our post-Christmas post about the estimated $41 billion worth of gift cards that haven't been redeemed since 2005 seemed to strike a chord. And our shout-out for ideas about what to do with cards you don't want or that only have a little bit of money left on them generated some good responses. Such as this:

Trena Gravem (Trena) wrote:

The Decemberists On World Cafe

Dec 29, 2011

The Decemberists have been on hiatus for quite a while — so long that the non-Colin Meloy members of the band have their own group, Black Prairie. We love these musicians together, and that's why we picked their session from 2011's The King Is Dead to feature on Vintage Cafe.

The New Year comes, of course, at midnight. But because we have different time zones, we have many different midnights and some are much more crowded than others.

This morning I asked myself: who's got the biggest New Year's Eve on earth? By which I mean: which time zone has the most people in it. And the answer is clear.

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on September 20, 2011.

Elton John And Leon Russell On World Cafe

Dec 28, 2011

From his start with the band Bluesology in 1961, multi-award winner Elton John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight) has time and time again proven himself to be one of the most iconic singer-songwriters of our day. Rising to international fame by the 1970's with the hit "Your Song," Elton has since released an overwhelming number of studio albums, many of which have climbed their way to the top of the charts.

The Steve Miller Band On World Cafe

Dec 27, 2011

Some people call him space cowboy, some people call him the gangster of love, but most know him as Steve Miller, the guitarist and vocalist whose laid-back, infectiously catchy tunes have soothed the nation for decades.

Phillip Gulley's writing is simply presented, thoughtful and wise.  With Porch Talk Gulley engages his readers in a conversation about the unintended joys and sometime surprises of small town living - Gulley is a long time resident of Danville, Indiana.  You could say that reading Phillip Gulley is like conversing with an old friend - time well and honestly spent.

Genuine, passionate, powerful — that's as much of an introduction as Tori Amos needs. But for the past two decades, she's introduced her fans to plenty. She helped turn the piano into a rock instrument, showed that she can create big hits in different genres and challenged every critic who ever tried to put her in a box. And her 12th studio album, Night of Hunters, is no different.

They might be new to us, but many of our favorite discoveries of 2011 have one foot solidly planted in musical history. But the blues, grunge, 20th-century classical, string-laden jazz, industrial metal and shoegaze traditions in which these musicians play don't keep them from pushing their sounds forward. At some point in 2011, each of our picks gave us something new to fall in love with. At the end of the year, we're happy to offer a little gift from each of them to you.

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