An Evening of Stories, Images and Songs
Two-time All-Ireland Traditional Singer
$20 in advance
$22 at the door
This will be a once in a lifetime event focusing on the music of the Celtic lands and it's journey across the seas to American. The program will include stories and quotes from those interviewed for the book, such as Pete Seeger, Doc Watson, Jean Ritchie, Sheila Kay Adams and David Holt, vivid book images on the screen of of Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia, and songs from each of the areas.
It’s fair to say that many Americans received their introduction to the wonders of Celtic music by way of Fiona Ritchie’s popular and long-running NPR show “The Thistle & Shamrock”. Her lilting “soft Scots” commentary and enthusiasm for the music have made her and the program airwave institutions. But in 1981 she was a young staffer at WFAE, a fledgling Charlotte NPR station. With the encouragement of musically-inclined UNC Charlotte vice-chancellor Doug Orr she launched “The Thistle & Shamrock”, dedicated to Celtic music in all its manifestations. Since returning to her native Scotland, Fiona and the radio broadcast have won acclaim and numerous awards, while Orr went on to found the internationally renowned Swannanoa Gathering music camp while president of Warren Wilson College. With their long mutual history and expertise, it was a natural progression that the two would co-author on a new illustrated history of the musical influence of the Scots-Irish in the Appalachians.
The Scots and Irish have a remarkably rich repertoire of songs of emigration and parting. Some tell of bitter exile, others are hopeful and anticipate the new life ahead. Some sing of lost love, many express the pain of homesickness. All testify of a very deep tie to the land and the beloved landscapes of home. Songs became companions that helped ease the pain of separation and reinforced the identity of exiles and emigrants.
- Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr
The book Wayfaring Strangers, first published in 2014, is in its third printing,, the fastest selling book in the history of the UNC Press, is a New York Times best seller and has received very favorable reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly and many others.
"A readable and epic tale tracing the flow of Scottish music. . . . [Ritchie and Orr] tell a story remarkable for its breadth and depth, conveying the drama of Scottish emigration via Ulster to Appalachia, by a people who clung to the music and song they held dear, and bequeathed it to America. It is for us to keep our eyes and ears open to see how this river carries on."
--Scottish Life Magazine
Wayfaring Strangers a meticulously researched, engagingly presented and beautifully illustrated look at the people of the Scots Borders who found a new home in the Appalachians by way of Ulster. Echoes of Scots-Irish speech, folkways and music still ring through the mountains, and Ritchie and Orr do an admirable job of tracing their history and influence through documents, interviews and narratives. Along the way they also enlisted the talents of traditional musicians on both sides of the Atlantic for an accompanying CD that showcases the diversity Scots-Irish derived musical styles. Both authors are also accomplished performers in their own right, providing a lively counterpoint to the historical material.
A book signing by the authors will follow the concert and copies of the book will be available for purchase.
to read an interview
with Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr