Help Bring the Scots-Irish Music of Appalachia to Life


In September 2014, The University of North Carolina Press will publish Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia, co-authored by Fiona Ritchie, host of National Public Radio’s award-winning The Thistle & Shamrock® Celtic music program, and Doug Orr, President Emeritus of Warren Wilson College. Through stories, songs, anecdotes, and illustrations, this book tells the story of the Scots who migrated from their homeland to Ulster in Northern Ireland and then crossed the Atlantic to settle in Appalachia.

Ritchie and Orr conducted amazing interviews with tradition-bearers on both sides of the Atlantic, whose voices convey the whimsy, humor, sadness, and joy of the migration story from the British Isles and Ireland to Appalachia. Wayfaring Strangers brings their story to life by including a CD of 20 songs that tell the migration story with ballads, laments, sea-faring songs, airs, and adaptions of the old ballads in today’s context.

Featured musicians include Appalachian singer, dulcimer player, and Fulbright scholar Jean Ritchie; North Carolina flat picking master Doc Watson; legendary folk singer-songwriter Pete Seeger; Appalachian balladeer, storyteller, and author Sheila Kay Adams; Grammy award-winning storyteller and musician David Holt; Scottish singer and folklorist Dougie MacLean; and singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, who also wrote the foreword for the book.

Wayfaring Strangers CDUNC Press has a wonderful opportunity to help fund the production and inclusion of the CD into all copies of Wayfaring Strangers thanks to the North Carolina Arts Council, who will match $1 for every $2 we raise.

UNC Press needs your help!

Make a contribution by clicking on this link to Fiona Ritchie, Doug Orr, and Scots-Irish Music of Appalachia on

Donating never felt so good: take a look at the great benefits UNC Press is providing to their donors for this project:

  • Donate $25 to produce and insert 21 CDs and receive a thank-you note from UNC Press.
  • Donate $75 to produce and insert 63 CDs and receive a handwritten thank-you note from UNC Press plus an invitation to meet Fiona and Doug during their book tour.
  • Donate $250 to produce and insert 210 CDs and receive an invitation to meet Fiona and Doug during their book tour plus a hand-signed thank-you note from Fiona and Doug on a souvenir notecard featuring the Wayfaring Strangers book cover.

Thank you for helping us make this extraordinary project possible!