World Cafe
11:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The Polyphonic Spree On World Cafe

The Polyphonic Spree.
Steve Wrubel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 3:20 pm

This segment originally aired on Dec. 25, 2012.

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World Cafe
11:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Latin Roots: The Christmas Music Of Latin America

Ranchera star Lila Downs.
Eric Jamison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 5:46 pm

In this edition of World Cafe, Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson sits down with host David Dye to discuss the Christmas music traditions of Latin America. One thing that sets Central America's music apart from that of North America, she says, is the fact that a lot of it is made for dancing.

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Arts & Life
9:19 am
Tue December 25, 2012

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:20 pm

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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Books
9:18 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 1:46 am

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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The Salt
8:33 am
Tue December 25, 2012

'Canadian Peanut Butter' Connects Mainers To Their Acadian Roots

Robert Bisson of Bisson and Sons Meat Market in Topsham, Maine, with his granddaughter. The butcher shop sells traditional cretons during the holidays.
Lauren McCandlish NPR

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 1:08 pm

Last Christmas, we told you about tourtières, the savory meat pies Canadians serve around the holidays. Now, we bring you cretons, a Québécois delicacy found throughout Canada and parts of New England this time of year.

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Favorite Sessions
7:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The New Standards: A Supergroup Celebrates 'Snow Days'

The New Standards recently performed "Snow Days" for The Current in Minneapolis.
Steven Cohen The Current

A jazz trio and Minnesota music supergroup, The New Standards features singer and pianist Chan Poling of The Suburbs, singer and bassist John Munson of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare, and vibraphonist Steve Roehm of Electropolis and Billy Goat. With a repertoire composed largely of holiday classics and unexpected covers of contemporary pop and rock favorites, the band has long been a must-see live, but it's also hit the studio a handful of times, releasing albums in 2005 and 2008.

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Asia
6:55 am
Tue December 25, 2012

In India, All Religions Join In 'The Big Day'

Carolers from St. Columba's School in New Delhi stage their annual Christmas program, where the student body is Catholic, Sikh and Hindu.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:43 pm

India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, marks the birth of Jesus with a national holiday.

Indians call Christmas bara din, or the Big Day.

Chef Bhakshish Dean, a Punjabi Christian, traces the roots of Christianity in India through food.

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Around the Nation
6:27 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Is Santa's Sleigh Powered By Caribou?

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 8:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
6:19 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Santa Amazes Deaf Boy's Mother

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 8:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Africa
3:41 am
Tue December 25, 2012

U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa

Gen. Carter Ham is head of the U.S. African command. An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., will begin helping train African militaries beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:22 am

An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.

The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. The Dagger Brigade returned to Kansas last year from a deployment to Iraq, where it trained and advised that country's security forces.

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