From the seventeenth through the 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. Ritchie and Orr guide readers on a musical voyage across oceans, linking people and songs through centuries of adaptation and change.
Enriched by the insights of key contributors to the living tradition on both sides of the Atlantic, accompanying this abundantly illustrated volume is an online Spotify playlist featuring over 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 more.
Fiona Ritchie MBE is the founder, producer, and host of National Public Radio's The Thistle & Shamrock. In 2018 she was inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame. Douglas Orr is President Emeritus of Warren Wilson College, where he founded the Swannanoa Gathering music workshops.