Arts and Entertainment Dai & The Ramblers, Duw Duw

Duw Duw, Just Peachy Records

Handel, Messiah, English National Opera

Messiah has always been about the communal experience, the shared tradition – especially at Christmas. We dutifully stand for the “Hallelujah!” chorus, feeling but perhaps not really understanding the release it brings, and why.

Album: Trio VD, Fill It Up with Ghosts (Babe)

Remember the Fast Show sketch about the trumpeter who, instead of blowing, sucked?

Protest against trumpets at World Cup grows

Japan's soccer chief has joined in the chorus of protestors wanting the noisy vuvuzela trumpet to be banned from next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Album: Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu, Chiaroscuro, (ECM)

Spare and mournful, Sunday-morning coffee and croissants music from the duo of veteran guitarist and Oregon founder Towner and the superb Sardinian trumpeter Fresu, who also plays a mean flugelhorn.

Album: Karl Jenkins, Stella Natalis (EMI Classics)

Karl Jenkins' Christmas album is a two-part affair, his 12-song title suite followed by nine arrangements of traditional carols and spirituals from around the world such as "The First Noel", "Go Tell It On The Mountain", "Silent Night" and the infectiously staccato Burgundian song "Pat a Pan".

Album: Rickie Lee Jones, Balm in Gilead (Fantasy)

I worried that Rickie Lee Jones's 13th album might involve an extension of the overtly Christian ruminations of 2007's unsatisfying The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard; but it seems employed here in a more general metaphorical sense, of music as spiritual medicine. That's certainly the impression given by the reflective blues-jazz piece "Blue Ghazel", whose wordless vocal hums and growls sound like someone talking in tongues over "It's A Man's Man's Man's World"; and by "His Jeweled Floor", whose reverberant drone is ultimately more moving than the vocals which supplant it. But, elsewhere, Jones wanders stylistically from the wistful country music of "Remember Me?" and Paul Simon-esque poignancy of "Bonfires", to the Laura Nyro-style blue-eyed soul of "Old Enough", a duet with Ben Harper. She hasn't lost her gift for the telling line, as when reassuring her daughter in "Wild Girl" that "the thing that makes you beautiful doesn't come out of a jar"; but surprisingly, the standout track, "The Moon is Made of Gold", turns out to have been written long ago by her father. A jazzy soon-to-be standard similar in mood and tone to "Midnight at the Oasis", it features whistling and mouth-trumpet in the manner of Leon Redbone, and a deliciously sweet guitar solo by Bill Frisell.

Album: Tomasz Stanko Quintet, Dark Eyes, (ECM)

Polish trumpeter Stanko's new Finnish and Nordic quintet, with Jacob Bro on guitar, can sound either plangently acoustic or modestly electric.

Guca Festival, Guca, Serbia

Each year in August, a tiny hayrick-ringed town in southern Serbia hosts the wildest, noisiest, rawest and probably most popular music festival you have never heard of. Guca attracts nearly half a million people from the Balkans and beyond to the biggest celebration on the planet of trumpet music. But blow those preconceptions from your horn right away. This is a gypsy-derived style that has four settings: mournful, manic, very manic, and terrifyingly frenzied. It sounds like the music of the id, the expression of that dark space in the soul where sex and war and passion are born and bubble and fester.

Album: Dave Rivello Ensemble, Facing the Mirror (Allora)

Aprotégé of Bob Brookmeyer,who writes thesleevenotes, composer/bandleader Rivello is areal find with a distinctiveorchestral voice.

George Russell: Composer and theorist who provided inspiration for Miles Davis and broke new ground for jazz musicians

At the time he wrote the composition that fired off his career, George Russell didn't have a garret in which to starve. He was a creative composer whose urgent talents were known to the inner cognoscenti of jazz musicians, but his great works only seemed to stick up when the tide went out. Although of similar talent, he never achieved the momentum with the great jazz public that Gil Evans did. And heaven knows the GJP looked in the other direction while even Gil Evans enjoyed musical riches and endured physical poverty.

Headingley silences Barmy Army trumpeter

The Barmy Army, that noisy crowd that follows the England cricket team wherever it goes, will be marching into battle this weekend minus a trumpet.

Richard Hawdon: Jazz trumpeter and bandleader

I'd like to be a jolly extrovert," said Dickie Hawdon. "I look as miserable as sin on the stand, even when I'm having a ball." Despite the lack of "showbiz" panache, Hawdon went on to be one of the most accomplished musicians to grace British jazz. "I might do better if I could jolly about a bit, but I'm sure that if you force it, that shows too, so I do as little as possible."

Album: Kaija Saariaho, L'Amour De Loin, Harmonia Mundi

Kaija Saariaho's first opera will surely become one of the emblematic works of the decade, its theme of cross-cultural relationships holding up a mirror to our own atomised, divided times.

Observations: Tête à Tête's Lite Bites provide little voyages and big discoveries

As the company that pioneered the 15-minute opera form, and scored a world first by staging an opera inside a zorb ball, Tête à Tête has always been at the cutting edge. For its 2009 festival, one of its strands, Lite Bites, will take place in streets, Tube stations and local parks.

Album: Handel, Royal Fireworks / Due Cori, Zefiro / Bernardini, (D. Harmonia Mundi)

This isn't the loudest or most lavish Musick for the Royal Fireworks but Zefiro's intimately scaled performance has bags of charm.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
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Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee