Arts and Entertainment

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The Shins

From Broken Bells to mended Shins

After dallying with Danger Mouse, the US indie rockers are back with new members and a new album

Album: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Archive Recordings of Ralph Vaughan Williams (Albion)

As with many period recordings, there's a hurdle to be overcome with these Fifties recordings of Vaughan Williams works – most notably, the thinness of the sound and the unusual instrumental balance that initially distracts from Alexander Young's noble English tenor.

Album: Piers Hellawell, Airs, Waters (Delphian)

The impressive range of Piers Hellawell's work is displayed on this collection of six compositions, five of which are premiere recordings.

Telling Stories, By Tim Burgess

There are several eye-watering anecdotes in this memoir by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, though one in particular stands out. It involves a straw, a paper cone, a Rizla paper and two willing participants, and offers the seasoned cocaine user a novel method of ingesting their drug of choice. Suffice to say that this chapter is called "Cocainus".

Here Comes Everybody: The Story of The Pogues, By James Fearnley

The beat of the Irish diaspora, via King's Cross

Album: Inon Barnatan, Darknesse (Visible Avie)

On Darknesse Visible, the Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan offers a compelling programme of pieces inspired by poems, their interpretations occupying the netherworld between light and dark.

Kathleen Ferrier

The legendary, and tragic, voice of a generation at war

Contralto Kathleen Ferrier was born 100 years ago. Jessica Duchen celebrates a very British love affair

Album: Peter Gabriel, Live Blood (Realworld/Eagle)

After the Scratch My Back and New Blood albums of orchestrated re-imaginings of his and others' songs, and last year's New Blood Live in London DVD, another two-hour, two-CD live set based on the same material may be a case of Peter Gabriel returning to this well once too often.

Garrett says: 'Opera is the greatest artistic collaboration known to mankind'

Lesley Garrett: 'I lost my voice in the middle of an opera; I thought my career was over'

I was shunned by the opera world when I began appearing in musicals There is still a powerful snobbery in the opera hierarchy and because I decided to do a musical or two, such as Carousel and The Sound of Music, all the doors suddenly closed to the opera houses, which surprised me. I believe their thinking is that once a singer departed from the prescribed operatic route, they become contaminated.

Andrew WK is currently touring the UK

Andrew W.K. gets the party started in the UK

A couple of years ago, on an evening from which I was regrettably absent, a few friends of mine ended up partying with Andrew W.K.. If you're familiar with the 32-year-old American rock star/celebrated hedonist/motivational speaker, you'll know that this is a big deal. The man has made it his mission to party; it's his religion.

Tokyo Quartet, Wigmore Hall ****/*****

Two groups of Japanese musicians have opened their Western counterparts’ eyes to new things about Western classical music: one is Masaaki Suzuki with his Bach Collegium Japan, the other is the Tokyo String Quartet, whose recordings of the classical canon are surpassingly fine. And when you’re told before the first of the Tokyo’s two Wigmore concerts that two players are about to retire, you listen intently, because a 42-year run is coming to a close.

Andrew WK

Andrew WK: 'We can unite the human race through partying and music'

A couple of years ago, on an evening that I was regrettably absent from, a few friends of mine ended up partying with Andrew W.K. If you’re familiar with the 32-year-old rock star/celebrated hedonist/motivational speaker, you’ll know that this is a big deal. A very big deal. Because no-one parties quite like Andrew W.K. The man has made it his mission to party; it’s his religion. Why just live, when you can party?

Stile Antico, Wigmore Hall

If you want proof of the extent to which ‘early music’ is now enshrined in our culture, look no further than the packed Wigmore Hall on Easter Sunday, where the a cappella group Stile Antico were singing Renaissance motets which not so long ago would have drawn a small cohort of sandalled beardies and flower-maidens.

Joshua Bell is the new director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Joshua Bell, Cadogan Hall, London
Carole Cerasi, Foundling Museum, London

Former teen virtuoso Joshua Bell has an orchestra all of his own to play with, but are two hands really enough?

Album: Massanet – Werther, Villazón/Koch/Pappano/Royal Opera House (Deutsche Grammophon)

There is a moment in Act 1 where it seems as though Werther and Charlotte will be in love for ever.

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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us