Music of the Isles

Share this:

MUSIC OF THE ISLES: Thursday, 7pm-9pm on WMNF HD2 – AND streaming all week on

CELTIC MUSIC & More, ancient to modern, with co-hosts Bill Dudley & Seán Sexton.

The best of traditional folk & contemporary songwriting from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England; ON AIR since 1979.

HEAR THIS WEEK’S SHOW using the Listen On Demand player at the top right of this page.

Or if you’re LISTENING ON YOUR PHONE using the WMNF APP: Click “Archives” icon at the bottom of its screen; then scroll to Music of the Isles.

NEW, Enjoy our library; access past shows here!  LISTEN to ARCHIVED SPECIALS on

 What was the name of that song; who was that artist? 


Upcoming on Music of the Isles — Look for these specials:

4/20  The subject of this week’s theme set is the hunger striker Bobby Sands.

4/27  April is National Poetry Month. We mark it with our Music of the Isles 17th Annual Poetry Show, playing Celtic artists who have set celebrated World Poetry to song. Hear the likes of Damien Dempsey, Fay Hield, and Seán Tyrrell sing the poems of Brendan Behan, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, and much more in this full show special.

5/11  A full show saluting Joe Boyd, record producer. Sample his work from the 1960’s English Folk scene, especially his efforts aiding the rise of British Folk Rock. Listen to singer-songwriters John Martyn, Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan. Hear folk rockers Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, The Albion Band, Linda & Richard Thompson.

5/18  UK TOUR …  This week’s full show special showcases music from regions of the UK. No BREXIT here! We continue to traditionally air ancient and contemporary Tunes & Folksongs from England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland on the Music of the Isles. Special sets will tour these regions. Hear Scottish Celtronic mouth music and Northumbrian lullaby; listen to Cornish miner balladry and mad Manx fiddling.

5/25  This week’s extended theme set plays nautical songs that uncover the horrors of the Slave Ship.

6/29/2017  A full show spotlighting how American Songwriting of the 1950’s-1960’s Folk-Scare lives on in the music of current Celtic bands. Hear songs of Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Peggy Seeger performed by contemporary Celtic artists from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. Hear the likes of Maddy Prior, Aoife Clancy, Dolores Keane, Battlefield Band, Patrick Street, Siobhan Miller, Gaelic Storm, Runrig, Pilgrims’ Way, and The Paul McKenna Band sing folksongs from the pens of some of America’s most enduring songwriters.

BOOKMARK this page – – Don’t miss out on each week’s new show of traditional & contemporary folk!

SEND A LINK FOR THIS SHOW TO A FRIEND Introduce someone to the best of Celtic Music!

Thank you for making Music of the Isles your tradition. We greatly appreciate listener support & input and always welcome feedback.

Email Bill or Seán at their bios below…

To Support WMNF & Music of the Isles, use the TIP JAR found at the top of this page. (Any contribution, big or small, is greatly appreciated.)

All work for this show is performed on a voluntary basis by its co-hosts, including purchasing music for broadcast from their own personal income. These hosts have contributed their time, talents, and resources to keeping Celtic music alive for Greater Tampa Bay. They do so without compensation in any manner from any source. Any contribution you make to this show— every precious cent of it– fully goes to the station to help fund WMNF Tampa Community Conscious Radio stay on air.

Please let the station know how important Music of the Isles and Celtic music is to you! (We appreciate you for it– go raibh maith agat!)

FRIENDS of MUSIC OF THE ISLES: Support not-for-profit, commercial-free WMNF by becoming a monthly Sustaining Member; designate your donation to Music of the Isles by joining the “Celtic” CIRCLE OF FRIENDS 


IRISH MUSIC SESSIONS– fair play to, ye!

Every First Sunday (5 pm)– FOUR GREEN FIELDS, 205 Platt St., Tampa, (813) 254-4444.  Four Green Fields event info

Every Third Sunday (5 pm)– MOLLY MALONE’S, 305 E. Davis Island Blvd., Tampa,  (813) 304-2777.   Molly Malone’s Irish Pub event info  

PUB PERFORMANCE– raise a pint to Tampa’s bards!

BRENDAN NOLAN: Brendan Nolan info

5/5 & 5/6  Molly Malone’s, 304 E. Davis Blvd., Davis Island, Tampa, (813) 304-2777.

BRAYZEN HEADS: Brayzen Heads info


TAMPA BAY CELTIC CONCERT VENUES Check again for notification of artists coming to the Tampa Bay area.

CELTIC FOLK FESTIVALS– gathering of the clans & great craic at the feis! Check back for Festival updates.

HOUSE CONCERTS– once round the kitchen, mind the dresser! Check out these locations:

CLEARWATER COTTAGE CONCERTS,, 3196 Wessex Way, Clearwater. Call (727) 712-0659 for info.

4/29  Dave Curley, Irish singer & instrumentalist.

SOUTH TAMPA HOUSE CONCERTS, West Shore/Gandy Area, presents Folk music, including Celtic acts,  Call (813) 625-2688 for info.

LAKESIDE HOUSE CONCERTS, Winterhaven, hosts many acoustic acts, including Celtic groups.  Call (863) 293-1510 for info.

CONTRADANCE– step it on out, lads & lassies of all ages [confirm dance dates & locations at Tampa Friends of Old-Time Dance.]  

Every First Friday (7:30 pm)– Pinellas Park Auditorium, 7690 59th St., Pinellas Park

Every Second Saturday (7:30 pm)– Pinellas Park Auditorium, 7690 59th St., Pinellas Park

Every Fourth Sunday (3:30 pm)– Gulfport, 5500 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport


QUESTION:  What can you find on our weekly Music of the Isles show?

ANSWER:  Eclectic Celtic, entertaining folk music– contemporary & classic– interspersed with informative theme sets, and occasionally the full show special. (Explore our past shows for samples.)


MUSIC OF THE ISLES, broadcasting since 1979, plays Trad tunes and Folk ballads, plus Celtic rock & reel, while highlighting Celtic music’s influences on & cross-pollination with Folk Rock, ProgRock, Punk, New Age, Celtronica, World Beat, Chip-Shop-Hip-Hop, Americana, & Nu-folk:

LISTEN to Ewan MacColl, Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, The Dubliners, Christy Moore, The Pogues, The Chieftains, The Bothy Band, Clannad, The Corries, The Fureys, Fairport Convention, Silly Wizard, Steeleye Span, Albion Band, Fotheringay, Pentangle, Planxty, Morris On, Jethro Tull, Horslips, Strawbs, Rick Wakeman, Afro Celt Sound System, Capercaillie, Enya, Equation, Runrig, Anne Briggs, Billy Bragg, Boys of the Lough, Dougie MacLean, De Dannan, Sandy Denny, Five Hand Reel, Alasdair Fraser, Tannahill Weavers, Battlefield Band, Old Blind Dogs, Mr. Fox, Bellowhead, Incredible String Band, The Young Tradition, Leo Rowesome, Alan Stivell, Silly Sisters, Stockton’s Wing, Whistlebinkies, Patrick Street, Poozies, Solas, Shirley Collins, Seamus Ennis, Emmet Spiceland, Ian Campbell Folk Group, Micho Russell, The Johnstons, Frank Harte, Shirley Collins, Nic Jones, Mary Bergin, Skara Brae, Midnight Well, Sweeney’s Men, Dave Swarbrick, The Woods Band, The Waterboys, Home Service, Lindisfarne, Linda & Richard Thompson, June Tabor, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Stan Rogers, Archie Fisher, Andy Irvine, Tommy Sands, Andy M. Stewart, Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, Altan, Cran, Craobh Rua, Coolfin, Davy Spillane, Eileen Ivers, John Whelan, Cherish The Ladies, Dervish, Four Men & a Dog, Dick Gaughan, Bob Geldof, Eric Bogle, Mick Moloney, Mediaeval Baebes, Moving Hearts, Waterson:Carthy, Brass Monkey, Seamus Begley, Kathryn Roberts, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Maddy Prior & Tim Hart, Lennie Gallant, Lunasa, Luka Bloom, Mary Black, Aoife Clancy, Robbie O’Connell, Connie Dover, Cathie Ryan, Áuna, Nightnoise, The Voice Squad, Tom Lewis, Tommy Fleming, The Corrs, Orla Fallon, Deirdre Starr, Eddi Reader, Frances Black, Kate Purcell, Niamh Dunne, Norianna Kennedy, Nuala Kennedy, Lumiere, Liz Madden, Lisa Moscatello, Susan McKeown, Jennifer Cutting, Whirligig, The New St. George, Brendan Nolan, Jimmy Crowley, John Tams, James Keelaghan, Gordon Lightfoot, Garnet Rogers, Fretless, The Duhks, Figgy Duff, Barde, Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones, Levellers, The Prodigals, Saw Doctors, Demon Barbers, Black 47, Peatbog Faeries, Martyn Bennett, Kíla, Sinéad O’Connor, Shane MacGowan, Michael McGoldrick, Flook, Mark Knopfler, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, Vishtèn, The Rankins, Ennis Sisters, The Barra MacNeils, Ashley MacIsaac, Mary Jane Lamond, Hart Rouge, Rod Paterson, Brendan Begley, Brian McNeill, Pat Kilbride, Ed Miller, John McCusker, The Unthanks, Van Morrison, Brian Kennedy, Bap Kennedy, Sharon Shannon, Seth Lakeman, Shooglenifty, Baka Beyond, Alan Simon, Martin Simpson, The Shee, Lehto & Wright, Boiled In Lead, Bohola, Karen Matheson, Kate Rusby, Kathryn Tickell, Malinky, Caladh Nua, Karan Casey, John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Jackie Daly, Paul Brady, Maura O’Connell, Moya Brennan, Declan MacManus, Dolores Keane, Seán Keane, Seán Tyrrell, Jim Malcolm, Mick Hanly, Eleanor McEvoy, Loreena McKennitt, John McSherry, Oysterband, Great Big Sea, Sting, New Celeste, Owl Service, Landermason, Pilgrims’ Way, The Queensberry Rules, Ruth Keggin, Mec Lir, Mabon, Dalla, Danú, Beoga, Jon Boden, Tim Edey, Glen Hansard, Rhiannon Giddens, Imagined Village, Show of Hands, Manran, Session A9, 9Bach, Calan, Cara, Gráda, Slide, Rachel Newton, Jackie Oates, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, David Munnelly, Siobhan Miller, Heidi Talbot, Lau, Líadan, Luke Daniels, North Cregg, The Outside Track, The Paul McKenna Band, Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan, Megson, Jimmy MacCarthy, Eliza Carthy, Chris Wood, James Yorkston, Jim Moray, Jez Lowe, John Spillane, Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Emily Smith, Cara Dillon, Damien Dempsey …

EXQUISITE vocals, lively jigs & reels, rowdy choruses, workers’ struggles, heroic accounts of poet rebels, humors of drinkers & scholars, their mirth, myth & magic, bawdy ballads, wicked fiddling & the pipes calling, Celtic mysticism, the draw of the land, its holiday customs and workaday life, dance tunes and harvest songs, but also the pull of the road and the sea, hornpipes & shanties, good times for both the prince and the pauper, hard times of men and women, haunting airs, love’s lament, harp strings & heartstrings, touching stories of tender emotions or the dark side of vengeful murder ballads, cautionary tales of roguish rakes, wild rovers, highwaymen, pirate outlaws, tributes to celebrated patriots, their noble cause, saluting the subsequent courageous burden of the common foot soldier, and, of course, marking in all manner the Celts on the march, history alive– alive, alive-o! … a musical mirror to whom we are today, accompanied much by contemporary songwriting spotlighting that reflection.

FOLKSONGS from England and the 7 Celtic Lands. Learn through music the history & culture of the Celtic nations: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia. Hear tradition alive & adapting in vibrant communities of the Celtic diaspora in America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

DIG THE FOLK ROOTS & climb all the branches of the Celtic Music genre. Taste the fruit of Folksong! Make it your tradition to listen to Music of the Isles, your site for Celtic Eclectic!

Hosted By...

Bill Dudley

Since growing up in Cleveland (the Home of Rock and Roll) Bill Dudley has spent a lifetime in radio, beginning in his high school years, which coincided with the Great American Folk Scare. After starting out part time at a tiny little FM station in New Jersey, he became active in campus radio in upstate New York before moving to Florida in the 1960s. After working at a number of stations in the Tampa Bay Area, he was fired from his last commercial job (a country music station) just a few months after WMNF went on the air, which could be seen as some kind of omen. Started in late 1979 by station staffer Cameron Hendrix, the Music of the Isles Show was given to Bill in early 1980, along with a daytime Big Band and Swing program (later supplanted by the Live Music Showcase in 1996.) Along the way Bill founded the first Irish traditional band in Florida, the Wind That Shakes the Barley. Since the eighties he has made a living recording acoustic music albums for folks in Florida and other states, as well as producing radio documentaries for the Florida Humanities Council, and, more recently, promotional and documentary video. Bill also plays guitar in several Contra Dance bands, of which three have toured as far north as New England. An outdoorsy guy, Bill has a love of history, the old ways and traditions, and "hippie values." You can check out some of his work on the web at

Sean Sexton

Seán Sexton, co-host Music of the Isles (2000 to present)

Seán, born in NYC, holds dual U.S. & Irish passports. An educator for 30+ years, he has a keen interest in Balladry; its encapsulation of the human condition, its folk perspective, its timeless relevance. In his travels he's accumulated a vast library of traditional folk music from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England.

He became involved in Music of the Isles as a guest host in 2000, when-- returning from residing in Ireland where he was enrolled in studies culminating in a postgraduate degree in the Creative Writing of Poetry-- he was invited to WMNF to program a special for National Poetry Month. He chose the topic of Irish poetry set to music by Celtic folk artists. (Subsequently, a Poetry Special every April has become an institution on Music of the Isles.)

He was asked back the next week, & the week after, & after that Seán with his enthusiasm for Celtic Music has been a weekly fixture in the studio ever since. You'll find him every Thursday entertaining & educating-- programming interesting (sometimes quirky) theme sets & intriguing full specials, introducing the Tampa folk scene to new artists & directions in the genre, in doing so offering to new audiences, new generations, the touchstones connecting our musical past to its contemporary catalog. Mostly you can hear Seán, a Celtophile to the heart & honorable Irish American, sincerely share his love for Celtic culture, ancient to contemporary. He keeps the traditions alive. (Does his family proud.)

Your man’s mad for Trad. He’s great “craic,” and, best, he’s hold of a treasure of music to air:
Clancys to Pentangle, Planxty to Capercaillie, Pogues to Prodigals, Peatbog Faeries to Bellowhead, Imagined Village and beyond. Then back again. Music of the people by the people. Folk for, and of, folk concerns, not corporate fed fad. Folk people reflecting on the past, existing in the present, focused on the future. Folk for folk sake!

It can be said of Seán stepping through life that “he takes most delight in the slip jigs & reels.” But when away from studio work, and not found grading papers from his day job of keeping our youth skilled in critical thinking, you can catch him at the local pub throwing darts. Or, perhaps, see him at his 2nd great passion: Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. Loyal to the team, he is a longtime, rabid season ticket member.

Up the Celts (and Go Bolts)!

Follow Music of the Isles

Submit an Event