Music of the Isles

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

3/23  This week we feature an extended set saluting a family group from the 1970’s: The Fureys & Davey Arthur; along with playing contemporary music from their talented offspring.

4/13  A special extended set this week salutes the songwriting of Jimmy MacCarthy with our playing Irish artists– such as Christy Moore, Mary Black, Maura O’Connell– covering many of the stellar songs from his phenomenal 1990 debut album Song of the Singing Horseman.

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.

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

3/31 & 4/1  Molly Malone’s, 304 E. Davis Blvd., Davis Island, Tampa, (813) 304-2777.

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

BRAYZEN HEADS: Brayzen Heads info

3/31 & 4/1  Four Green Fields, 205 W. Platt St., Tampa, (813) 254-4444.



TARPON SPRINGS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, 324 Pine St., Tarpon Springs, (727) 937-0686. TSPAC events

4/9  Brendan Nolan with fiddler & whistle player Colin Farrell. THE PALLADIUM, St. Petersburg College, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg, (727) 822-3590. Paladium Events

CELTIC FOLK FESTIVALS– gathering of the clans & great craic at the feis!

Weekends 2/18 – 4/2:  Bay Area Renaissance Festival, 11315 N. 46th St., Tampa.

4/7  Brendan Nolan with fiddler Colin Farrell. StringBreak Music Fest. Sertoma Ranch, Brooksville, (813) 984-8445.

HOUSE CONCERTS– once round the kitchen, mind the dresser!

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, New Age, Celtronica, World Beat, Chip-Shop-Hip-Hop, Americana, & Nu-folk:

LISTEN to Ewan MacColl, Tommy Makem, The Dubliners, Christy Moore, The Chieftains, The Bothy Band, Clannad, The Corries, The Fureys, Fairport Convention, Silly Wizard, Steeleye Span, Albion Band, Fotheringay, Jethro Tull, Horslips, Strawbs, Afro Celt Sound System, Enya, Equation, Runrig, Anne Briggs, Billy Bragg, Dougie MacLean, De Dannan, Sandy Denny, Alasdair Fraser, Tannahill Weavers, Battlefield Band, Old Blind Dogs, Patrick Street, Solas, The Waterboys, Richard Thompson, Stan Rogers, Archie Fisher, Altan, Cherish The Ladies, Dervish, Four Men & a Dog, Mick Moloney, Mediaeval Baebes, Moving Hearts, Waterson:Carthy, Lennie Gallant, Lunasa, Luka Bloom, Mary Black, Aoife Clancy, Robbie O’Connell, Cathie Ryan, Brendan Nolan, Jimmy Crowley, The Duhks, Derek Warfield, Saw Doctors, Black 47, Kíla, Sinéad O’Connor, Shane MacGowan, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, The Barra MacNeils, Sharon Shannon, Seth Lakeman, Shooglenifty, Baka Beyond, Lehto & Wright, Boiled In Lead, Kate Rusby, Karan Casey, John Doyle, Paul Brady, Maura O’Connell, Loreena McKennitt, Oysterband, Great Big Sea, Danú, Jon Boden, Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan, Megson, Eliza Carthy, 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, the draw of the land, its holiday customs and workaday life, but also the pull of the road, for both the prince and the pauper, hard times, good 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, and yet also tribute 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)!

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