Friday, November 7, 2014

'Wayfaring Strangers,' by Fiona Ritchie, Doug Orr, Dolly Parton
Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr, courtesy UNC Press

Here's a book so alive it almost speaks aloud to you as you read.
It's "Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia," by NPR's "Thistle & Shamrock" founder Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr, chancellor emeritus of Warren Wilson College and founder of the Swannanoa Gathering. Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton wrote the foreword.

If you love Appalachian music; if you're Scots-Irish and wonder about your roots; if you're curious about the words and traditions of the music and how many miles and years the songs have traveled to get here, this handsome book is your most trusted servant, your indispensable encyclopedia and your entertaining Bible.
With 60 black-and-white and 64 color photographs, this book digs deep into the lore of the music and musicians and serves up an education in anecdotes, interviews and glossaries.

Learn, for instance:
  • about the black fiddlers, numerous from the Civil War on, but now lost to  history because they were never recorded.
  • the influence of the mass media on Doc Watson
  • how mill owners used music to maintain a nonunion environment
  • the difference between "buck dancing," "flatfooting," and "hoe-downing."
  • why Aberdeenshire, Scotland is the cradle of Scottish balladry.
  • why the Scots-Irish who left Pennsylvania for the French Broad region of the Carolinas can be said to be the essence of Scots-Irishness.
One of the best things about this book are the live interviews, including ones with the late Pete Seeger.

Doug Orr and Fiona Ritchie will make the following appearances:
  • 9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 13 "Carolina Talks" with Mike Collins. WFAE. 90.7 FM.
  • 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13 reading and signing, with Little Windows at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Rd., Charlotte.
  • Noon, Friday, Nov. 14: UNC Charlotte Alumni Association luncheon.
  • 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14, Charlotte Folk Society event, presentation and music with Little Windows, Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte, 28204.
  • 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15. Warren Wilson College, reception with musical performance, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa.
  • 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15. Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecture by Ritchie and Orr. Kittredge Theatre, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa.
  • 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16, Malaprop's Bookstore, Asheville, with music added by Amy White and Al Petteway.Wine and cheese reception. Admission to the event is complimentary with purchase of a book ($39.95).



Mike said...

What a combination! I'm a long-time fan of Fiona. And the Scots-Irish roots of Southern folk and country music is finally getting the attention it deserves.