At Art&Seek, we get in the holiday spirit as much as anyone. And to prove it, we’ve got a stellar lineup of holiday programming planned for the radio station (KERA 90.1 FM) beginning Dec. 23. Among the highlights is our very own Gini Mascorro’s Christmas Anthem — a genre-busting collection of artists performing holiday songs new and old (see below). What else is on tap? So glad you asked:
Dec. 23 at 8 p.m.: Hanukkah Lights 2008 — An NPR holiday tradition for nearly two decades, Hanukkah Lights presents brand new fiction to celebrate and illuminate the holiday season — moving tales of discovery and reconciliation, the persistence of hope and the promise of undimmed light — read by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz. This program repeats Dec. 28 at 1 p.m.
Dec. 24 at noon: Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites — Christmas is a time of traditions, and over the years, NPR has created a few traditions of its own. In this hour-long special: Wistfulness, joy, doubt, hope, all the emotions we feel at this time of year, all summoned up in memorable stories from the NPR broadcast archives.
Dec. 24 at 1 p.m.: Songs of Joy and Peace: The Yo-Yo Ma Holiday Party — Hosted by John Schaefer, this one-hour holiday special combines the joy of music with the gift of discovery as shared and performed by friends old and new. James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Diana Krall, Dave Brubeck, Renee Fleming, The Silk Road Ensemble, Jake Shimabukuro and others discuss the collaborations they recorded with Ma.
Dec. 25 at Midnight: Conspirare: Christmas at the Carillon — Craig Hella Johnson, the founder and director of Conspirare, has put together a group of performers who unapologetically explore the entire range of choral music. From traditional works, which they perform with enlightened reverence, to arrangements of sacred contemporary and pop, which they sing with respect and a deep understanding of style, this is a choral group for the 21st century. This program repeats Dec. 25 at 2 p.m.
Dec. 25 at noon: Christmas Anthem with Gini Mascorro — A cheerful, cheeky blend of eclectic music matched to the many moods of Christmas. Enjoy new seasonal sounds from KERA’s own Gini Mascorro.
Gini says: “Christmas Anthem is a festive blend of music suited for the many moods of Christmas – a mishmash of songs aiding and abetting in the celebration and survival of the holiday season. I’ll be playing some new sounds and unearthing buried treasures here and there, too. And even if your inner Scrooge has the tendency to get the best of you, there are songs in the show that’ll suit your mood, too. Expect to hear holiday ditties from the likes of Matt Pond, PA, the Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Deathray Davies, Aimee Mann, the Bird & the Bee, Nicole Atkins, El Vez, Sufjan Stevens, the Darkness, Bob Marley, Punk TV, Julie London and much, much more.”
Dec. 26 at 8 p.m.: Chanukah in Story and Song — Vocal sextet the Western Wind and narrator Leonard Nimoy present 25 eclectic selections, from the Ladino songs of the Spanish Jews and Yiddish melodies of Eastern Europe to modern Israeli tunes and their original version of “I Have a Little Dreydle.” The singers sing a cappella and are also joined by instruments including violin, accordion, bass and guitar. The narration written by Rabbi Gerald Skolnik sheds light on the holiday customs and rituals.
Dec. 27 at 1 p.m.: A Seasons Griot 2008 In this edition of the Kwanzaa program “A Season’s Griot,” Madafo Lloyd Wilson presents traditional and original works of poetry, music and prose that speak to the institution of family, the security of community, and the unspoken and spoken principles and values of the black community.
In addition to the above programs, KERA will also present a holiday favorite, In His Own Words: Glenn Mitchell Christmas Blockbuster. The program airs Dec. 24 from 7 p.m. to midnight and features a celebration of old friends and good music presented with wry wit and intelligent commentary from the late Glenn Mitchell, KERA’s beloved former host.