Music of the Isles

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MUSIC OF THE ISLES: starting on 6/13/2019, Thursdays, 1pm-2pm, on 88.5 FM WMNF Tampa–

but presently, streaming On Demand all week at

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– Eclectic Celtic: new releases & classics; broadcasting since 1979.

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, / Folk dance like a wave of the sea — W.B. Yeats, 1899.
All over Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales / I can hear the mothers’ voices calling / “Children, children, come home, children” — Van Morrison, 1982.

THIS WEEK’S SHOW: LISTEN NOW! The current program plays 24-7 all week. Listen anytime! Enjoying the show?– Send a link to a friend. Introduce a music lover to the best of eclectic Celtic!

See our CALENDAR below for the theme of this week’s program and info on upcoming broadcasts.

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

ALSO, PAST SHOWS ARE AVAILABLE– play your favorites again & again! 

Missed a Music Of The Isles show? Access all our past shows! Search by date or explore our library for interesting topics. Find that SPECIAL you so enjoyed– Recommend it to a friend. Follow us on MixCloud:  LISTEN to previous SHOWS on

What was the name of that song; who was that artist?  FIND PLAYLISTS FOR PAST SHOWS 

Playlist indicates song & album title, artist, release date, country of origin, band member names, and sometimes songwriting credit.

LISTEN ON YOUR PHONE— Take Music of the Isles on the go! GET the Free WMNF APP: Download Our App

Open app & then Click “Archives” icon at bottom of your phone’s screen and scroll to Music of the Isles for this week’s show.
Got Smart Speakers? For more information on all the many ways to listen to WMNF, including Music of the Isles, click here.

Like Us on Facebook: WMNF volunteer Susan Starr each week posts program notes and uploads music videos to the Music of the Isles Facebook Page:

Check it out: Music of the Isles Facebook videos are of artists being played on our current week’s program. Thanks for following us, Facebook friends. Keep sharing those posts!

Contact the DJs:  Thank you for making Music of the Isles your tradition. We welcome listener support, input, and feedback. Email Bill or Seán at their bios below.

To Support WMNF & Music of the Isles, use the Tip Jar above!

THANKS, we tip our hats to you for doing so!  Any contribution, big or small, is very much welcomed.

All work for airing this show is performed on a voluntary basis by its co-hosts, including purchasing music for broadcast at their own personal expense. 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 & directly goes to support the best little radio station on the planet, WMNF. Please help fund Music of the Isles and aid WMNF Tampa Community Radio stay on air.

FRIENDS of MUSIC OF THE ISLES: WMNF is a tax deductible, registered 501 (c) 3 organization. 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 

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!”   

Loyal Fans, go to the Top of this Page and mark MUSIC OF THE ISLES as one of your Favorite WMNF Programs– THANKS! Go to Favorites


What’s Coming Up on MUSIC OF THE ISLES & WMNF?  Explore EVENTS on WMNF Station Calendar.

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

5/23.  Another week of great music, including an extended set saluting the songwriting duo of Richard Thompson & Dave Swarbrick from their early Fairport Convention days. Listen to their songs from 1970 Fairport Convention albums, as well as contemporary cuts from Celtic artists covering their classics.

5/30.  Another week of great Celtic music. And for our fans of Bert Jansch and Pentangle, this week includes a set highlighting his music both in Pentangle and in his solo career. We also give a nod to his work with Beth Orton. Later in the show we salute the songwriting of Jackson C. Frank with a set of Celtic covers of his songs.

6/6.  This week’s spotlight set celebrates in song the 151st birthday (June 5, 1868) of James Connolly, labor leader and Irish patriot. Listen to the Wolfe Tones, Black 47, Karan Casey, and Niall Connolly salute this brave hero and his cause of liberty and economic justice.

6/13.  The Pogues and selections from their 1988 If I Should Fall From Grace With God give us our spotlight set this week.

6/20. It’s fundraising week at WMNF, a radio station for and of the people. Along with our sampling of Celtic music, listen to the many ways Music of the Isles is worthy of your sponsorship. This is your chance to support the show and WMNF Community Radio. So, folks, let’s speak up and step up for folk music. Up the Celts!

6/27.  Canadian Dreamin’ is what we call this week’s spotlight set. Listen to song dreams of Canadian singer-songwriters Lennie Gallant, J.P. Cormier, and Roy Hynes.

7/4.  For the Independence Day holiday, our entire show will be celebrating the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, a great American artist whose music influences folk performers and activists around the world today. Listen to contemporary Celtic artists covering Woody’s classics.

7/11. Who knew that the great Irish folksinger Christy Moore is a Pink Floyd fan? Listen to Christy and other Celtic artists cover Pink Floyd in this week’s spotlight set.

7/18. The spotlight set this week features the songwriting of Bob Franke. Listen to Celtic artists, such as Martin Simpson, Stan Rogers, and The Black Family, cover his songs.

7/25.  More great Celtic trad this week! Plus in our spotlight set, we claim Mark Knopfler, Scottish born musician and member of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, as a bonafide Celtic artist! Listen to him perform the traditional Irish classic “On Ragland Road.” Additionally, hear him play his own songs composed in the Celtic idiom.

A listing of TAMPA BAY CELTIC HAPPENINGS can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this page.


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

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


MUSIC OF THE ISLES, broadcasting since 1979, plays Trad tunes and Folk ballads along with the best of contemporary songwriting, plus Celtic rock-n-reel, while highlighting Celtic music’s influences on & cross-pollination with Folk Rock [think Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span], ProgRock [think The Strawbs], Psychedelic Folk [think Incredible String Band ], CeltRock [think Horslips or Toss The Feathers], New Age-Old World [think Loreena McKennitt], Celtic Choral [think Ánuna], Celtronica [think Martyn Bennett or Peatbog Faeries], Epic Celtic [think Alan Simon], Funky Folkie [think Ed Sheeran], Gaelic Gospel Gumbo [think Hothouse Flowers], Celtic Mystic Soul [think Van Morrison], Jig Jam [think Moving Hearts], Big Ceílí [think Bellowhead], Celtic Consort [think Fretless or The Gloaming], Commonwealth World Beat [think Imagined Village], Canadian Kiltic, [think Ashley MacIsaac or Enter the Haggis], Cross-Country [think The Unwanted], Celtic Comfort [think Celtic Woman or Celtic Thunder], Ragin’ Pagan [think Banshee in the Kitchen], Pub Punk [think The Pogues], Chip-Shop-Hip-Hop [think Damien Dempsey], Urban Celtic Chaos [think Black 47], Gaelic New Order [think Kíla], Acoustic Spin [think Talisk or Spiro], Folktronica [think Beth Orton], Anglicana [think Show of Hands], Americana [think We Banjo Three], & Nu-folk [think Damien Rice or Lisa Hannigan]:

We play … EXQUISITE vocals, lively jigs & reels, rowdy choruses of workers’ struggles, heroic accounts of poet rebels, the humors of drinkers & scholars, their mirth, myth & magic, their bawdy ballads, with wicked fiddling & the pipes calling, inspired 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, emigration, 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, a saluting of the subsequent courageous burden of the common foot soldier, and, of course, marking in all manner the Celts on the march, immigration and new worlds, new sensibilities but holding the old stories to rekindle spirits, a history alive– alive, alive-o! … a musical mirror to whom we are today, accompanied much by contemporary songwriting spotlighting that reflection.

We play … 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, New Zealand, and England.

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 eclectic Celtic, ancient to modern, classic to current!

LISTEN to Ewan MacColl, The 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, The Wolfe Tones, General Humbert, Leo Rowesome, Alan Stivell, Silly Sisters, Stockton’s Wing, Whistlebinkies, Tír na nÓg, Patrick Street, The Poozies, Solas, Shirley Collins, Seamus Ennis, Emmet Spiceland, Ian Campbell Folk Group, Micho Russell, The Johnstons, The Humblebums, Frank Harte, Ralph McTell, Nic Jones, Liam Clancy, Patrick Ball, Barbra Dickson, Bob Fox, Derek Bell, 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, Carlos Nunez, Altan, Cran, Craobh Rua, Coolfin, Davy Spillane, Dave Burland, Eileen Ivers, John Whelan, John Renbourn, Matt Molloy, Cherish The Ladies, Dervish, Four Men & a Dog, Dick Gaughan, Bob Geldof, Eric Bogle, Mick Moloney, Jacqui McShee, Mediaeval Baebes, Méav, Moving Hearts, Waterson:Carthy, Brass Monkey, Seamus Begley, Kathryn Roberts, Celtic Fiddle Festival, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Magpie Lane, Peter Bellamy, John Roberts & Tony Barrand, Maddy Prior & Tim Hart, Bert Jansch, Robin Williamson, Ashley Hutchings, The House Band, Arcady, Anam, Lennie Gallant, Dan Ar Braz & l’Héritage des Celtes, Tiger Moth, Lunasa, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Luka Bloom, Mary Black, Aoife Clancy, Robbie O’Connell, Colum Sands, Connie Dover, Cathal McConnell, Cathie Ryan, Áuna, The Baltimore Consort, Nightnoise, Owain Phyfe & The New World Renaissance Band, Christine Primrose, The Voice Squad, Finest Kind, Pyewackett, Tom Lewis, Tommy Fleming, Finbar Furey, The Corrs, Orla Fallon, Deirdre Starr, Eddi Reader, Frances Black, Kate Purcell, Niamh Dunne, Éilís Kennedy, Norianna Kennedy, Nuala Kennedy, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Moya Brennan, Lumiere, Liz Madden, Lisa Moscatello, Susan McKeown, Julie Murphy, Nolwenn Leroy, Jennifer Cutting, Whirligig, Robin Bullock, The New St. George, Natalie Merchant, Brendan Nolan, Jimmy Crowley, John Tams, Coope Boyes and Simpson, Davy Steele, James Keelaghan, Chris Norman, Gordon Lightfoot, Garnet Rogers, Fretless, McDades, The Duhks, Figgy Duff, Barde, Fásta, Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones, Levellers, The Prodigals, Hothouse Flowers, Saw Doctors, Demon Barbers, The Young Dubliners, Gaelic Storm, The High Kings, Enter The Haggis, Black 47, Peatbog Faeries, Martyn Bennett, Kíla, Sinéad O’Connor, Shane MacGowan, Michael McGoldrick, Flook, Mark Knopfler, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, Vishtèn, Barachois, The Rankins, Ennis Sisters, The Barra MacNeils, Ashley MacIsaac, Mary Jane Lamond, Hart Rouge, J.P. Cormier, Rod Paterson, Brendan Begley, Brian McNeill, Pat Kilbride, Ed Miller, La Lugh, John Kirkpatrick, John McCusker, Mike Scott, The Unthanks, Van Morrison, Brian Kennedy, Bap Kennedy, Ron Kavana, Niamh Parsons, Brendan Powers, Gerry O’Connor, Sharon Shannon, Seth Lakeman, Shooglenifty, Baka Beyond, Cecile Corbel, Alan Simon, Martin Simpson, Hilary James & Simon Mayor, The Shee, Wake The Dead, Wolfstone, Lehto & Wright, Boiled In Lead, Bohola, Karen Matheson, Kate Rusby, Kathryn Tickell, Malinky, Caladh Nua, Dónal Clancy, Karan Casey, John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Jackie Daly, Pauline Scanlan, Paul Brady, Maura O’Connell, T with the Maggies, Declan MacManus, Steve Wickham, Dolores Keane, Seán Keane, Seán Tyrrell, Steve Tilson, Maggie Boyle, Jim Malcolm, Jackie Leven, Mick Hanly, Eleanor Shanley, Eleanor McEvoy, Loreena McKennitt, Kaela Rowan, John McSherry, Oysterband, Great Big Sea, Swell Season, Sting, New Celeste, Owl Service, Broom Bezzums, Pilgrims’ Way, The Queensberry Rules, Ruth Keggin, Mec Lir, Barrule, Mabon, Dalla, Danú, Beoga, Jon Boden, Tim Edey, Glen Hansard, Rhiannon Giddens, Imagined Village, Lady Maisery, Show of Hands, Manran, Deaf Shepherd, Session A9, 9Bach, Bella Hardy, Calan, Corran Raa, Cara, Gráda, Goitse, Slide, Téada, Rachel Newton, Fiona Hunter, Jackie Oates, Emily Portman, Fay Hield, Hannah James & Sam Sweeney, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, David Munnelly, Siobhan Miller, Mumford & Sons, Thom Moore, Hò-Rò, Heidi Talbot, Lau, Líadan, Luke Daniels, North Cregg, Burning Bridget Cleary, Blue Rose Code, Runa, Sylvia Herold, Olivia Chaney, Alistair Ogilvy, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, The Outside Track, Hanz Araki & Kathryn Claire, Colleen Raney, The Paul McKenna Band, Mike Vass, Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson, Green Diesel, Gillian Frame, Faustus, Ruth Notman & Sam Kelly, Sam Lee, Lucy Ward, Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan, Lisa Knapp, David Gibb & Elly Lucas, Megson, Jimmy MacCarthy, Eliza Carthy, Chris Wood, Blair Dunlop, Joy Dunlop, James Yorkston, Jim Moray, Jez Lowe, Roger Wilson, Pete Morton, John Spillane, Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith, Offa Rex, Stick In The Wheel, Spiro, Talisk, Matt & Shannon Heaton, Usher’s Island, The East Pointers, Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, Còig, Socks In The Frying Pan, Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Emily Smith, Cara Dillon, Damien Dempsey, The Gloaming, Salt House, Iona Fyfe, Ange Hardy, The False Lights, Ímar, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, Damien O’Kane, Hannah Rarity, Kelly Oliver, Claire Hastings, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Leveret, The Willows, Eabhal, Lankum, Lynched, Ye Vagabonds …



IRISH MUSIC SESSIONS… for the “craic” & “ceol” (fun & music)– fair play to, ye!

TRAD SESSION: Every First Sunday (5 pm)– FOUR GREEN FIELDS, 205 Platt St., Tampa, (813) 254-4444.  Four Green Fields event info (Through the week, check for evening Folksinger performances.)

TRAD SESSION: Every Third Sunday (5 pm)– MOLLY MALONE’S, 305 E. Davis Island Blvd., Tampa,  (813) 304-2777.   Molly Malone’s Irish Pub event info (Through the week, check for evening Folksinger performances.)

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

BRENDAN NOLAN: Brendan Nolan info

BRAYZEN HEADS: Brayzen Heads info


TAMPA BAY CELTIC CONCERT VENUES Check back again for further notification of Celtic artists on tour coming to Tampa Bay.

4/13.  One for the Foxes; 7:30pm, Scottish American Society Hall, 917 Louden Ave. Dunedin.

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

HOUSE CONCERTS– once round the kitchen, mind the dresser! Check out these locations that often host Celtic musicians:

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

LAKESIDE HOUSE CONCERTS, Winter Haven. Call (863) 293-1510 for info.

SOUTH TAMPA HOUSE CONCERTS, Call (813) 625-2688 for info.

CONTRADANCE– step it on out, lads & lasses 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



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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