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The Thistle & Shamrock
Sunday at 7pm

Each week, The Thistle & Shamrock listeners join award-winning host Fiona Ritchie to explore the evolving Celtic musical traditions of Europe and North America. In addition to well-known artists and selections, Ritchie introduces curious listeners to Celtic influences in World and contemporary music, and investigates other distant landscapes and genres. 

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  • Photo: ~ Amy White and Al Petteway (photo credit: Maggie’s Music)Week 27 (#2145)Around the time of World Bee Day, we explore natural details in music with songs that celebrate the wildlife right under our noses and wild spaces on our doorsteps.The Chrystal Year/Foxes’ Rock…by Flook from Ancora (Flatfish)Raindrops/The First of May…by Deiseal from The Long, Long Note (Starc)Wildwood Flower…by Al Petteway and Amy White from High in the Blue Ridge (Fairewood Studios)Dance of the Swan… by Dowally from Early Bird (dowally.com)Drunken Spider…by Antoni O’Breskey from Samara (nomadpiano.com)Cuillins of Home…by Archie Fisher from Homeward Away (Red House)Swallowtail…by Martyn Bennett from Martyn Bennett (Eclectic)[ID excerpt] The Quiet Glen…by Marla Fibish from The Bright Hollow Fog (Noctambule Music) Mouse Jigs…by Flook from Haven (World Village)’S ionadh rud a chunnaic mi/Faca tu saor an t-sàbhaidh/A chur nan gobhar as a’ chreig…by Maggie MacInnes from Port Bàn (Marram Music)The Soaring Kestrel/Leddy from Cavan…by Lilt from Lilt X (Lockhouse)Àill/Gleann…by Whyte from Maim (Theatre Guleòr)All the Pretty Little Horses…by Suzy Bogguss from American Folk Songbook (Loyal Dutchess)McGoldrick’s Jig/The Fading Light…by Amadama from Way back When (Anadama.com)
  • Image: Suzy Bogguss, singer-songwriter, is this week’s guest (photo credit: Suzy Bogguss)Week 26 (#2144)Join Fiona Ritchie at the Swannanoa Gathering’s Traditional Song Week with her guest, the multi-million selling Country Music recording artist Suzy Bogguss. The singer songwriter chats about the roots of American song, how her music has evolved, and shows the live audience why she was such a favourite in her many appearances through the years on A Prairie Home Companion.Shady Grove…by Suzy Bogguss from American Folk Songbook (Loyal Dutchess)Wayfaring Stranger…by Suzy Bogguss - recorded live at Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa Gathering 2019Night Rider’s Lament…by Suzy Bogguss - recorded live at Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa Gathering 2019 Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier…by Suzy Bogguss from American Folk Songbook (Loyal Dutchess)[ID excerpt] Wildwood Flower…by Suzy Bogguss from American Folk Songbook (Loyal Dutchess)Hickory Wind (short excerpt)…by Suzy Bogguss - recorded live at Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa Gathering 2019Letting Go…by Suzy Bogguss - recorded live at Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa Gathering 2019Today I Started Loving You Again…by Suzy Bogguss - recorded live at Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa Gathering 2019 Red River Valley…by Suzy Bogguss - recorded live at Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa Gathering 2019
  • Image: Nordic Fiddler’s Bloc featured on this week’s show.Week 25 (#2143)It is always good to re-visit artists from New Releases shows whose music is well deserving of more airtime. There is so much to discover!The Blue Lamp…by The Chair from Orkney Monster (The Chair)Shiver Me Timbers…by The Chair from Orkney Monster (The Chair)Myrstacken…by The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc from Bonfrost (ffuk.no)Limerick Rake…by Antoni O’Breskey & Ronnie Drew from From Dublin to Bilbao (nomadicpiano.com)As I Roved Out…by Antoni O’Breskey & Ronnie Drew from From Dublin to Bilbao (nomadicpiano.com)Nomadic Aura…by Antoni O’Breskey from Samara (nomadicpiano.com)[ID excerpt] Margaret Davidson…by The Chair from Orkney Monster (The Chair)The Bonnie Wee Lassie’s Answer…by Dougie Mackenzie with Brian Miller from Along the Way (Greentrax)Fletch Taylor/Marcel Aucoin/Matthew Robinson’s…by Katie McNally Trio from Now More Than Ever (katiemcnally.com)Summer Sun…by Shetland Musicians from Between Islands (An Lanntair)Whal’s Rost/Colin Scott Mackenzie of Stornoway/PM Donald Maclean of Lewis/The Lost Summer…by Neil Johnstone and Louise Bichen from Between Islands (An Lanntair)The Fadachd Orm Fhìn…by Kris Drever and Linda MacLeod from Between Islands (An Lanntair)Festival Reels…by The Chair from Orkney Monster (The Chair)
  • Image: Fiona Ritchie and Irish singer Maura O’Connell in Nashville, 2015 (photo by Margaret Kennedy)Week 24 (#2142)The poetry of W.B.Yeats (1865-1939) embraces nature, art, mysticism, politics, love, and death. The collection “I Am of Ireland - Yeats in Song” sets Yeats poems to music by Raymond Driver and features many of today’s finest Irish singers including Cathy Jordan, Eleanor Shanley, and John Doyle.Down By the Salley Gardens…by Maura O’Connell from Wandering Home (Hannibal)The Strayaway Child…by Jerry Read Smith from The Strayaway Child (Silent Planet)Stolen Child…by Loreena McKennitt from The Journey So Far (Quinlan Road)Faery’s Lament/Reel à Bouche…by Kim Robertson from The Spiral Gate (Narada)The Fiddler of Dooney…by Sean Doyle from The Light and Half-Light (Compass)I Am of Ireland…by Cathy Jordan and Seamie O’Dowd from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven…by John Doyle from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)Innisfree…by Anuna from Invocation (Atlantic)[ID Excerpt] Lauda…by Kim Robertson from Wind Shadows (Invincible)He Tells of the Perfect Beauty…by Dave Curley and Cillian Vallely from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)The Falling of the Leaves…by Eleanor Shanley and Kevin Burke from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)The Folly of Being Comforted…by Mick McAuley and Dana Lyn from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)King of the Fairies…by Kim Robertson from Wind Shadows (Invincible)Faery Song…by Cathy Jordan, Kevin Burke and Seamie O’Dowd from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)The Lover Tells of the Rose in his Heart…by Mick McAuley from I Am of Ireland ~ Yeats in Song (Merrow)The Song of Wandering Aengus…by Karan Casey from Somglines (Shanachie)Santiago…by Loreena McKennitt from Live in Paris and Toronto (Quinlan Road)
  • Image: Legendary Irish band The Chieftains in the 1970s (photo courtesy of the artists).Week 23 (#2141)June 4 1983 marked the first national radio broadcast of The Thistle & Shamrock. Fiona Ritchie reviews the playlists of these first shows and asks: what recorded Celtic music was in circulation back then, and what endures? The Presbyterian Hornpipe/The Watchmaker’s Daughter/The Hurricane…by Battlefield Band from There’s a Buzz (Temple)Scarce o’ Tatties…by Silly Wizard from ‘Live’ Again (Birnam CD)Rambling Irishman…by Dolores Keane and De Dannan from Thousands Are Sailing (Shanachie)Drowsy Maggie…by The Chieftains from The Chieftains Collection - Volume Two (Claddagh)Brian Boru in French…by Alan Stivell from Back to Breizh (Dreyfus)Corryvreckan…by William Jackson from Composition (Mill)Erin…by Martyn Bennett from Martyn Bennett from (Eclectic)[ID excerpt] The Methlick Style…by Natalie MacMaster from Cape Breton Girl (eOne)Gortavale Rock/The Road to Poynton by Kinnaris Quintet from Free One (Kinnaris Quintet)The Final Trawl…by Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd from The Final Trawl (Sgoil Chiùil)June Apple…by JigJam from Phoenix (jigjam.ie)The Little Cascade…by Sìleas from Delighted With Harps (Green Linnet)Chilly Winds…by The Shee from Different Season (Shee)F Medley…by Natalie MacMaster from Cape Breton Girl (eOne)The Bunch of Green Rushes/Salt Creek…by We Banjo 3 from Live in Galway (WB3CD)
  • Image: Singer, guitarist, fiddler and mandolinist Skip Gorman, featured in this week’s playlist (photo courtesy of the artist at Skip Gorman)Week 22 (#2140)From Irish cowboys on the plains to the Orkney men in Hudson Bay, we unpick the Celtic roots of North American folk music with Skip Gorman, Graham Rorie and more.The Cowboy Jig…by Skip Gorman from Celtic Fiddle Rambles with Skip Gorman, Vol 1 (Old West Recordings)Oh Shenandoah/Shenandoah Falls…by James Galway with Jay Unger and Molly Mason from A Song of Home ~ An American Musical Journey (BMG)Pretty Saro…by James Galway with Jay Unger and Molly Mason from A Song of Home ~ An American Musical Journey (BMG)McQuillen’s Reel/Janine’s Reel/The Arizona Reel…by Skip Gorman from Celtic Fiddle Rambles with Skip Gorman, Vol 1 (Old West Recordings)The Princess Royal/Johnny Cope…by Skip Gorman from Celtic Fiddle Rambles with Skip Gorman, Vol 1 (Old West Recordings)[ID excerpt] The Black Isle…by Skip Gorman from Celtic Fiddle Rambles with Skip Gorman, Vol 1 (Old West Recordings)Fort Hope…by Graham Rorie from The Orcadians of Hudson Bay (https://www.grahamrorie.com/the-orcadians-of-hudson-bay) A Roving on a Winter’s Night…by James Galway with Jay Unger and Molly Mason from A Song of Home ~ An American Musical Journey (BMG)The Last Calling Port…by Graham Rorie from The Orcadians of Hudson Bay (https://www.grahamrorie.com/the-orcadians-of-hudson-bay)The Cowboy’s Soliloquy…by Skip Gorman with Kate MacLeod from Trails, Rails, Hills & Tales (Old West Recordings)Derwentwater’s Farewell/Lad O’Beirne’s Reel/Ornette’s Trip to Belfast/Virginia Reel…by Skip Gorman from Celtic Fiddle Rambles with Skip Gorman, Vol 2 (Old West Recordings)Giving Back…by Graham Rorie from The Orcadians of Hudson Bay (https://www.grahamrorie.com/the-orcadians-of-hudson-bay)
  • Image: Jean Ritchie, Circa 1950. (Photo by George Pickow. AFC George Pickow and Jean Ritchie Collection.)Week 21 (#2139)This week, discover colourful characters and dramatic events in the narratives of traditional, broadside, and contemporary ballads.The Diamond Ring…by Karen Matheson from Still Time (Vertical)Willie of Winsbury…by Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer from Child Ballads (Wilderland)Ode to Billie Joe…by Sarah McQuaid from I Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning (sarahmcquaid.com)The Parting Glass…by Len Graham from Collected (storyandsong.com)Sheath and Knife…by Jean Redpath from Now & Then (jeanredpath.com)[ID excerpt] In the Pines…by Sarah McQuaid from I Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning (sarahmcquaid.com)Thousands Are Sailing…by Planxty from Thousands Are Sailing (Shanachie)Rambling Irishman…by De Dannan (with Dolores Keane) from Thousands Are Sailing (Shanachie)Fair Nottamun Town…by Jean Ritchie from None But One (Greenhays)The Ballad of Hiram Hubbard…chat and performance with Jean Ritchie (and John Ritchie) at The Swannanoa Gathering, 2008None But One…by Jean Ritchie from None But One (Greenhays)Wayfaring Strangers/British Field March…by Timothy Cummings with Caleb Elder and Pete Sutherland from The Piper in the Holler (Birchen Music) Image: The Ritchie Girls! Fiona Ritchie interviews the legendary ballad singer and song collector Jean Ritchie at the Swannanoa Gathering, 2008 (photo by Arlin Geyer).
  • Image: Ruth Morris, Gavin Marwick, Aaron Jones, Wendy Stewart, and Phil Alexander gathered to perform composer Marwick’s Quarterdays project at Celtic Connections (photo courtesy of the artists).Week 20 (#2138)Following the rhythms of the agricultural year in days gone by, four days marked the main divisions of the year: Candlemas, Whitsun, Lammas, and Martinmas. Many traditional folk songs and tunes were set against these seasonal shifts. We’ll explore a few and feature duo Gavin Marwick (fiddle) and Aaron Jones (cittern) from their Quarter Days project of new music.Leckan Mór…by Lúnasa from Lúnasa with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra (Lúnasa Recordings)Long, Long the Night…by John Morran from The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, Volume 7 (Linn)The Fair Maids of February/Jig for Winter…by Gavin Marwick & Aaron Jones from Quarterdays Candlemas (gavinmarwick.co.uk) A Flame of Gold/Prayer for Protection…by Gavin Marwick & Aaron Jones from Quarterdays Candlemas (gavinmarwick.co.uk) Bealtaine…by Lúnasa from Lúnasa (Compass)The Learig…by Wendy Weatherby from A Breath on the Cold Glass (Lochshore)The Light of May/The Fairy Mantle…by Gavin Marwick & Wendy Stewart from Quarterdays Whitsun (gavinmarwick.co.uk) [ID excerpt] Ballachulish Tango…by Wendy Weatherby from A Breath on the Cold Glass (Lochshore)St. Fillan’s Spring/The Lammas Market/Lùnastal…Quarterdays Lammas (gavinmarwick.co.uk)Corn Rigs…by Ossian from Seal Song (Iona)Lude’s Supper…by Ossian from Seal Song (Iona)Martinmas Time/The Little Stack of Wheat…by Andy Irvine & Paul Brady from Andy Irvine & Paul Brady (Mulligan)The Lantern Horn/The Nights Are Lang and Mirk/November Jig/Martin Dessil/The Geese and the Storm…by Gavin Marwick & Phil Alexander from Quarterdays Martinmas (gavinmarwick.co.uk) Midnight Walker…by Davy Spillane from Pipedreams (Tara)
  • Image: Scottish singer and guitarist Dick Gaughan is featured on this week’s show (photo courtesy of Greentrax Recordings).Week 19 (#2137)Hear new sounds from artists on both sides of the Atlantic, featuring a recently uncovered classic live recording by Dick Gaughan.Coire Bhreacain…by Skipinish from Steer By the Stars (Skipinnish Records)Hop High Ladies/Dunsmore Lasses…by Mary Z. Cox from Carolina Banjo (maryzcox.com)Wayfaring Stranger…by Suzy Bogguss from American Folk Song Book (Loyal Dutchess Records)The Gooseberry Bush/The Chicago Reel/Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie…by Dick Gaughan from The ‘Harvard’ Tapes (Greentrax Recordings)The Freedom Come All Ye…by Dick Gaughan from The ‘Harvard’ Tapes (Greentrax Recordings)Sliabh na mBan…by Dick Gaughan from The ‘Harvard’ Tapes (Greentrax Recordings)[ID Excerpt]…The Final Birl…by The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience from Foxy Laddie (Brechin All Records)Fare Thee Well, a Stór…by Altan from The Gap of Dreams (Compass)The Half Century Set…by Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, Mike McGoldrick, John Doyle from Usher’s Island (Vertical Records)Erin Go Bragh…by Dick Gaughan from The ‘Harvard’ Tapes (Greentrax Recordings)Now Westlin Winds…by Dick Gaughan from The ‘Harvard’ Tapes (Greentrax Recordings)Song For IrelandOrcadian Strip the Willow…by The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience from Foxy Laddie (Brechin All Records)
  • Image: Americana, R&B, country, and bluegrass duo Underhill Rose (photo courtesy of the artists).Week 18 (#2036)Head, heart, river and rose - we pick our way through a random assortment of themes in a selection of music from artists including Luka Bloom, Elephant Sessions, The Unwanted and Underhill Rose. Head and Heart...by Luka Bloom from Head & Heart (Big Sky Records) Sprig of Thyme...by Heidi Talbot and John McCusker from Love is the Bridge Between Two Hearts (Under One Sky Records) Borderland...by Barry Nisbet from A Bright Ray of Sunshine (Barry Nisbet) Tingles...by Elephant Sessions from The Musicians' Nest (Lews Castle College) Sovay...by Low Lily from 10,000 Days Like These (Mad River Records) Weevily Wheat...by The Unwanted from Pay Day (Whirling Discs)Sweet Roseanne...by The Unwanted from Pay Day (Whirling Discs) [ID break] Alia Star ...by Daygan from Musician Magician Music Magick (OSMO) Beth Mawr Ydi Cariad...by Calan from Deg | 10 (Sain) New Set...by Calan from Deg | 10 (Sain) Banks of the Lee...by Luka Bloom from Head & Heart (Big Sky) Trouble in Mind...by Underhill Rose from Underhill Rose Live (underhillrose.com) Fair and Tender Ladies...by Betse & Clarke from River Still Rise (betseandclarke.com) Arkansas Traveller...by Betse & Clarke from River Still Rise (betseandclarke.com) Deio I Dywyn...by Calan from Deg | 10 (Sain)
  • Image: Legendary Irish artist Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill (photo by Molly Keane from the artist’s website). Week 17 (#2135)One of Ireland’s leading interpreters of folk and traditional music, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill is also a composer and songwriter of international renown. We mark her 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards with a review of her influential career spanning more than fifty years in Skara Brae, The Bothy Band, Touchstone, Relativity, Nightnoise, and T With the Maggies.Gathering Pace…by Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill from Gathering Pace (Green Linnet)When I Was A Fair Maid…by Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill from A Treasury of Irish Song 1 (Gael Linn)Sixteen Come Next Sunday…by The Bothy Band from Live in Concert (Green Linnet)The Butterfly…by The Bothy Band from After Hours (GL)Fionnghuala…by Nightnoise from Shadow of Time (Windham HIll)Calum Sgaire…by The Bothy Band from Old Hag You Have Killed Me (Mulligan)Spanish Lady…by Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill from Idir an Dá Sholas (Green Linnet)[ID Excerpt] The Hope Fire…by Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill from The Key’s Within (Tee Nee Dee Music)Casadh Cam na Feadarnaigh…by Touchstone from The New Land (Green Linnet)Mind the Dresser…by Nightnoise from A Different Shore (Windham Hill)A Stór A Stór A Ghrá…by T With the Maggies from T With the Maggies (Compass)In a Deep Sleep…by Linda Ronstadt from The Complete Trio Collection (Rhino)Wedding Dress…by T With the Maggies from T With the Maggies (Compass)Invisible Wings/Faoileán…by Touchstone from Her Infinite Variety - Celtic Women in Music and Song (Green Linnet)
  • Image: Loch Katrine, Trossachs, Scottish Highlands (photo by Gordon Ritchie, Bon Accord Camera Club)Week 16 (#2134)This week we feature music from fiddler Duncan Chisholm inspired by a remote Scottish beach, and from Karine Polwart's Wind Resistance.Ben-Y-Vrackie/The Crieftan/Old Hill (part 2)...by Tunebook from Melody Lab (Sheem)The Wild Geese...by Liam O'Flynn from Out to An Other Side (Tara)Uamh An Oir...by Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente from The Morning Tempest (Oak Ridge)All on a Summer's Morning...by Karine Polwart from A Pocket of Wind Resistance (Hudson)The Moor Speaks...by Karine Polwart from A Pocket of Wind Resistance (Hudson)Lark in the Clear Air...by Karine Polwart from A Pocket of Wind Resistance (Hudson)Lullaby for a Lost Mother...by Karine Polwart from A Pocket of Wind Resistance (Hudson) [ID excerpt] Snow on High Ground...by Duncan Chisholm from Sandwood (Copperfish) Spaílpin Fánach...by Dervish from Live in Palma (Compass)I Love the Trees...by Nomos from Set You Free (Green Linnet)Súile Shuibhne...by Nomos from Set You Free (Green Linnet)The Pilgrimage...by Duncan Chisholm from Sandwood (Copperfish)A Precious Place...by Duncan Chisholm from Sandwood (Copperfish) Dizzy Blue...by Duncan Chisholm from Sandwood (Copperfish) The Burial Clouds...by Duncan Chisholm from Sandwood (Copperfish) North to Cape Wrath/The Dark Reel...by Duncan Chisholm from Sandwood (Copperfish)