Irish Band Bends Tradition

Known as a traditional Irish band, Solas decided to try something new on its latest CD: blending traditional Celtic music with more contemporary songs from Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and others. They recently visited NPR to perform songs from their new CD, The Edge of Silence. (Shanachie Re

Celtic Fiddlers

Renee talks with three folk fiddlers who make up the band "Celtic Fiddle Festival." They're currently touring the west coast of the U.S., playing Celtic tunes from Ireland, Brittany, and Scotland. There's one fiddler from each nation, so they each take a solo turn to show how their styles are different. Celtic Fiddle Festival's latest CD is called, Rendezvous.

A Mexican Christmas

Tish Hinojosa is a singer/songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. She talks about her memories of Christmas in a Mexican-American household — the smells, the sights and, most importantly, the sounds. And she plays songs that take her, and many other Mexican Americans, back to their childhood: "Arbolito," "A La Nanita Nana," and "Las Mananitas."

Bela Fleck

Liane Hansen speaks with banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck. The five-time Grammy winner has presented the instrument in jazz, rock, bluegrass and country settings. Now he's entered the classical world, playing everything from Bach to Beethoven to Chopin on a new cd, Perpetual Motion (Sony Classical SK 89610). Fleck also plays a selection for us from the studios of WPLN in Nashville.

The Slackers

Linda Wertheimer is joined in our performance studio by The Slackers, a ska band from New York City. The seven members are all Generation-Xers who are devoted to ska, a precursor to reggae born in 1950s Jamaica. The band gives a demonstration of the unique beat — or "off-beat" — that characterizes ska, and plays songs from the latest Slackers CD, called Wasted Days.

Rufus Wainwright: 'Poses'

It's not not surprising that Rufus Wainwright would become a musician and singer. He is the son of singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (of the McGarrigle sisters). He has just released his second album, Poses.

Sheila Chandra: Fusion Music

Host Madeleine Brand talks with Asian fusion singer, Sheila Chandra, about her latest CD This Sentence is True. Chandra experiments with the voice as an instrument and blends vocal traditions from American gospel and English folk, among other styles.