08 November 2014

Wayfaring strangers

Thanks to the November issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine for drawing attention to the new (Sept. 2014) University of North Carolina Press publication Wayfaring strangers: the musical voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr.

Both solid (384 pages) and attractively designed with many illustrations, this is required reading for anyone interested in the connections between music in these islands and in Appalachia; indeed, its scope is much wider than that. The authors agree with an important point made by an Ulster musicologist, the late Tony McAuley, that (in their words)

it is the braiding and weaving of European, African, and indigenous American influences that creates the unique tapestry of Appalachian music. Extract any one of the essential threads - Scots-Irish, English, German, French, African American, Cherokee - and the pattern is lost.

Pages of Wayfaring strangers can be sampled here, including a foreword by Dolly Parton, who traces her own ancestry to Gloucestershire. She is featured - together with Dougie MacLean, Cara Dillon, John Doyle, Pete Seeger, Sheila Kay Adams, Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, David Holt, Anais Mitchell, Al Petteway, and Amy White - on the 20-track CD that accompanies the book. This could make a very acceptable Christmas present.
On a lighter note: a record reviewer later in the same issue of BU mentions a song on one album that

takes on an Irish touch. Finally, we have an Irish song that is not about potatoes or immigration [sic].

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home