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traditions

Why I Love (And Question) Independence Day

Jul 3, 2017

On my first Fourth of July in the United States, I woke up in the morning, stretched and realized that my wife was still in bed.

I asked if she was going to work. She said, "Oh, don't you know today is July Fourth?"

I looked through our window. Just about everybody in Fernley, Nevada, the town where we lived, was on their way to Main Street with chairs, umbrellas, drinks and snacks.

A record-breaking 2.3 million New Englanders are expected to be hitting the road this Fourth of July weekend, driving more than 50 miles from home.

alashensemble.com / Courtesy Alash Ensemble

Musical masters of a remarkable vocal technique called “throat singing” perform in Connecticut on Thursday evening. They’re members of the group called Alash.

Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Creative Commons

Chartwell Dutiro is a Zimbabwe native and leading authority on the mbira tradition. He is also an experienced collaborator. This hour, we hear about his recent partnership with Timbila -- a band co-founded by Afropop Worldwide producer Banning Eyre. 

Timo Newton-Syms / Creative Commons

Well, the leftovers still fill the refrigerator, there's still reams of wrapping paper to recycle, and there's the Christmas tree. If you purchased one of the more than 20 million live Christmas trees sold this year, you're probably wondering what to do with it now. 

Ken Hawkins / Creative Commons

Whether it's red or white, boxed or bottled -- few beverages stimulate the senses quite like a glass of wine does. Still, the science behind how the human body "tastes" wine -- well, it's more complex than you might think. 

Guilherme Cardoso flickr.com/photos/guiskatenator / Creative Commons

I recently returned from a trip to India, and while visiting a friend in his garden outside Delhi, I was struck by one brilliantly colored, red plant. This five-foot-tall and -wide plant looked familiar. Upon closer inspection, it was a poinsettia.

Nu Haven Kapelye/Facebook

This year, Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same weekend.

A growing tradition among American-Jews nationwide, has been to spend Christmas day indulging in Chinese food. But for the last decade, in the New Haven area a new tradition has emerged -- an annual concert of klezmer music performed by The Nu Haven Kapelye.

T. Charles Erickson / Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" has become a Connecticut tradition, thanks in part to actor Bill Raymond's portrayal of the character Scrooge. But after 17 years, Raymond has said he will step away from the role after this year. 

Mónica Pinheiro flickr.com/photos/monica_andre / Creative Commons

Oh by gosh by golly, it's time of gifts for your favorite gardener. I may not be much of a singer, but I know gifts a gardener in the family might like.

terceirav / Creative Commons

Over the years, I’ve scrambled to think of ways to write about Christmas music.

Overrated, Underrated, Unfairly Neglected, Ten Best, 12 Worst, Pop, Classical – I’ve just about used up journalism’s standard-issue bag of Devices We Use for Recurring Yearly Phenomena.

Tracey Adams flickr.com/photos/bikracer / Creative Commons

One of the simplest and most rewarding activities to bring in some holiday cheer this time of year is to make your own wreath. You can go to local garden centers and take a wreath-making workshop, or buy a pre-made wreath. But I like to construct my own wreath made from materials around my home. 

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The documentary "Flory's Flame" gets its Connecticut premiere this Saturday at the University of Hartford.

The film explores the life of composer and performer Flory Jagoda, who is credited with preserving the traditional Sephardic music of the Balkans, an art form that was nearly wiped away by the Nazis during World War II.

Before you pass that gravy this Thanksgiving, you may want to make sure you got what you paid for.

Food giant Heinz is voluntarily recalling hundreds of cases of gravy just ahead of turkey day due to jars being possibly mislabeled.

The labeling mishap was for Heinz HomeStyle Bistro Au Jus Gravy. The jars in question were inadvertently labeled Heinz Pork Gravy and may contain milk and soy.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert via Twitter citing "undeclared milk and soy" in the HomeStyle.

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South African classical guitarist Derek Gripper is obsessed with the lilting and intricate music of the West African instrument known as the kora. Gripper, who performs this Friday night at Wesleyan University, has translated many kora compositions for guitar.

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