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Thistle and Shamrock

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Matthews, NC




Guided by your host Fiona Ritchie, step into the heart of an ancient tradition of reels, jigs, ballads, and laments. Then follow the pulse towards new music: an exuberant blend of irresistible rhythms, emotional voices, and fascinating instruments.




PO Box 518 Matthews NC 28106 USA


Pete Seeger memories

Travel with Fiona Ritchie to the home of Pete Seeger for a conversation with the legendary folk siniger and activist Pete Seeger, a man whose music and message became universal.


Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan, founding members of Solas, talk about the roots of this quintessential Irish-American band.

Duration: 00:19:25

Bearer of Gifts

Fiona Ritchie narrates a folk legend from Lapland that retells the traditional nativity tale: Scottish writer Kenneth Steven's 'Bearer of Gifts'. Music from Nordic traditions accompanies the reading.

Little Windows

Julee Glaub and Mark Weems share their blend of Irish and Appalachian music, performing live in the studio with host Fiona Ritchie.

Scottish American Ballad Connection

Jack Beck explores the legacy of Scottish balladry in the U.S., showing how the stories traveled and changed across the miles and the generations.

John Doyle

Thistlepod presents: John Doyle. He has a rhythmic guitar style like no other and, since his days with Solas, his playing has become one of the defining features of today's contemporary Irish sound. Born in Dublin, John Doyle now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina. He often records and tours with fiddler Liz Carroll and talks about their playling partnership here.

Dave Richardson

Thistlepod presents: Dave Richardson. Reminisce with the mandolin player about the early days of his legendary Celtic band, Boys of the Lough. Dave has toured the world with The Boys since the 1970s and remembers when things took off for the band. We hear a classic Garrison Keillor introduction of the group at Carnegie Hall.

Christine Kydd

Thistlepod presents: Christine Kydd. Whether solo or featured in bands, trios and duos, harmony is the hallmark of the singing of Christine Kydd. Hear about her life-long love of song and learn how she empowers others to discover their voices in her community choirs. Christine sings here with Janet Russell, Lorraine Jordan and Chantan (view music details at

Kate Rusby

?Thistlepod presents: singer/songwriter Kate Rusby. Although she's been nominated for a Mercury Prize and works with some of the finest musicians in Britain, the "Barnsley Nightingale" is at her happiest performing honest songs in the natural tones of her native Yorkshire. Share her pride in her roots and gain insights into her intoxicating singing style (view music details at

Celtic Christmas Treats and Tasters

Savor voices as warm as mulled wine from Cherish the Ladies, Maddy Prior, Ensemble Choral du Bout du Monde, Sinead O'Connor, Nightnoise, Atwater-Donnelly, Cara Dillon and Enya. Add instrumental spice from Robin Bullock, Al Petteway, Cormac Breatnach, Eileen Ivers and Frankie Gavin. It's the perfect holiday package! View full podcast details at

Cathie Ryan

Thistlepod presents: Cathie Ryan. Originally from Detroit, Cathie Ryan is a 1st generation Irish American woman and music is the key to her identity. Meet her, learn of her warm upbringing in a community of Irish immigrants and enjoy some of her songs (view music details at

Eleanor McEvoy

Thistlepod presents: Eleanor McEvoy. She followed her passion for songwriting and penned Only A Woman's Heart, one of the best known Irish songs of recent times. All this after playing violin for 5 years in the National Symphony of Ireland. Join Fiona as she meets up with Eleanor McEvoy who introduces music from her critically acclaimed album "Yola" (view music details at

Maggie MacInnes

Thistlepod presents: Maggie MacInnes. Scots Gaelic song has enjoyed a great infusion of creativity in recent years, thanks to singers like Maggie MacInnes. Here she talks about her album "Spiorad Beatha" (The Spirit of Life) on which she contributes vocals and clarsach, and provides insight into the inspirational force of her mother, the renowned tradition bearer Flora MacNeil. (View music details at

Frankie Gavin

Thistlepod presents: Frankie Gavin. For over 30 years he's traveled the world with the Irish band De Dannan and been a driving force in their music. Join Fiona as Frankie takes a break from a quieter tour through the Scottish countryside to chat with her about his passion for flute and fiddle. (View more details at