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Fiona Ritchie, Doug & Darcy Orr, and Little Windows
On Friday, November 14th, the Charlotte Folk Society, in partnership with the Charlotte Museum of History and the Mecklenburg Historical Association, will present a program of interest to anyone with a passion for our region’s musical heritage and history. Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr, co-authors of Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia, and Darcy Orr, art director of Wayfaring Strangers, will introduce us to this wonderful book through a multi-media event.
Admission is free; donations are appreciated and essential to presenting second-Friday CFS Gatherings in the Stella Center. The evening gets underway at 7:30 PM in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of Uptown Charlotte. Doors open at 7:00 PM; arrive early to be sure of admission. Free parking is available in the Mecklenburg County parking deck on 4th Street, between Kings Drive and McDowell Street. Exit the rear of the deck and cross the parking lot on foot to the Stella Center. Accessible entry and an elevator are available at the ground floor entrance on the parking lot side of the building. Drivers may drop off passengers needing assistance; a CFS volunteer will be on hand to help them.
As Fiona, Doug, and Darcy share the stories of the emigrants and the songs and tunes they carried with them, many of the book’s beautiful photos and illustrations will be projected for the audience to enjoy. Little Windows (Mark and Julee Glaub Weems) will perform a selection of songs chronicled in Wayfaring Strangers. The duo tour together nationally and abroad with a focus on the art of the pure voice with tight harmonies in traditional songs.
Copies of Wayfaring Strangers will be available for purchase and signing at the conclusion of the program. Complimentary refreshments will be served downstairs in the Stella Center Café. Visitors may also join a song circle, a slow old-time jam, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club.
Fiona Ritchie is founder, producer, and host of NPR’s award-winning The Thistle & Shamrock Celtic music program, which is broadcast worldwide. She was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in Queen Elizabeth’s 2014 Birthday Honors list for services to broadcasting and traditional Scottish music. Doug Orr, Warren Wilson College President Emeritus and founder of the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops, is presently serving as interim chancellor of UNC Asheville.
Wayfaring Strangers is a carefully researched and thoughtfully designed book, with a foreward by Dolly Parton. From ancient ballads at the heart of the tradition to instruments that express this dynamic music, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr chronicle the details of an epic journey in an entirely accessible style. Enriched by the insights of key contributors to the living tradition on both sides of the Atlantic, this abundantly illustrated volume includes a CD featuring 20 songs by musicians profiled in the book, including Sheila Kay Adams, Cara Dillon, John Doyle, David Holt, Dougie MacLean, Anais Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Al Petteway, Jean Ritchie, Pete Seeger, Doc Watson, Julee Glaub Weems, and Amy White. Preview the book here: www.uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book_detail?title_id=3549
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance selected Wayfaring Strangers, published by UNC Press in September, as a Fall 2014 Okra Pick: Great Southern Books Fresh Off the Vine, one of only a dozen the group recommends for great reading.
"Who better to write this book than Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr? They have each spent a lifetime intensely interested in the same thread of music from opposite sides of the ocean. The music connected them with each other, I suspect, long before they ever met, just as it connects all of us across miles and time, through generations and immigrations, anchoring us to the story of our ancestors and, ultimately, ourselves. These two are the perfect authors to trace the journey this music has made and to paint the picture of the living, breathing stream that it is." – Kathy Mattea, singer/songwriter and teacher
"The story of the Scots-Irish 'carrying stream' of music that found its way to Appalachia is also the story of the Cash family. William Cash emigrated from Scotland in the mid-seventeenth century, and the next generation drifted down to Virginia. The songs that went with them were captured, in part, a couple of centuries later by my stepmother's family, the Carter Family. My own musical DNA is bound with these songs--the narrative ballads, the melancholy rhymes, the ancient stories retold in melody again and again. Except for my family, there is nothing I love more than being a part of the 'living tradition' captured in this book." – Rosanne Cash, singer/songwriter and author
This event is truly a Charlotte homecoming for Fiona Ritchie and Doug and Darcy Orr. Fiona, Doug, and Darcy were all active in the Charlotte Folk Society in the early '80s. Doug is a past CFS president. Doug and Darcy met through CFS founder Marilyn Meacham Price's Sunday night jam class at CPCC. In his capacity as UNCC vice chancellor, Doug Orr founded the NPR station WFAE, then licensed to the university, in 1981. Scottish native Fiona Ritchie created The Thistle & Shamrock in 1981 while volunteering at WFAE. In 2002, CFS presented both Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr with Folk Heritage Awards for their contributions to preserving and spreading the enjoyment of traditional music. Please join us in welcoming them home and celebrating the publication of Wayfaring Strangers!
CFS Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.