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Wayfaring Strangers

1 Feb

One of my favorite NPR shows was The Thistle and Shamrock, hosted by Fiona Ritchie. I’ve learned about all kinds of great performers of traditional Scots and Irish music as well as music with Celtic roots. And Fiona has a lovely burr. Here she is, talking with Dougie MacLean.

Unfortunately, my local NPR station no longer carries it. Fortunately, there are podcasts or you can listen to an audio stream of the ten most recent shows.

Fiona has a book out, co-authored by Doug Orr, entitled Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia.


Publisher’s Summary:Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a steady stream of Scots migrated to Ulster and eventually onward across the Atlantic to resettle in the United States. Many of these Scots-Irish immigrants made their way into the mountains of the southern Appalachian region. They brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland, a carrying stream that merged with sounds and songs of English, German, Welsh, African-American, French, and Cherokee origin. Their enduring legacy of music flows today from Appalachia back to Ireland and Scotland and around the globe. In Wayfaring Strangers, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr guide readers on a musical voyage across oceans, linking people and songs through centuries of adaptation and change.

From ancient ballads at the heart of the tradition to instruments that express this dynamic music, Ritchie and Orr chronicle the details of an epic journey. Enriched by the insights of key contributors to the living tradition on both sides of the Atlantic, this abundantly illustrated volume includes a CD featuring 20 songs by musicians profiled in the book, including Dolly Parton, Dougie MacLean, Cara Dillon, John Doyle, Pete Seeger, Sheila Kay Adams, Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, David Holt, Anais Mitchell, Al Petteway, and Amy White.

This is a lovely book full of pictures that will take the armchair traveler on a wonderful journey.

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