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Shared Histories: Irish Christmas in America

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Plug into a family-friendly program of traditional Irish instrumentalists, singers and dancers who make a point of reaffirming the shared histories of America and the Irish people. The Irish-American story goes beyond brogue-speaking police officers in New York City; it expresses itself from the corner pubs to the folk music of Appalachia—and what other country has its own holiday in the U.S. (with apologies to Casimir Pulaski)?

Of course WFMT might not sound exactly like WFMT on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 PM; when Irish Christmas in America takes to the airwaves, it will sound more like WFMT on Saturday evenings, as folk music has been central to the WFMT mission since the beginning.

Today’s trend toward separating music by genre starts to break down with classical music: Beethoven set Irish, Welsh and Scottish songs. Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Liszt, Richard Strauss, and Prokofiev all borrowed or imitated folk melodies (Prokofiev found folk tunes in an anthology at a public library). There’s even evidence that Haydn used folk music from Croatia, Austria, and Hungary where he spent so many summers at the Esterhazy estate. Of course these composers are not the so-called folk music champions; that designation would to have go to Holst, Vaughan Williams, Bartok, and Kodaly, who actively worked to collect and preserve folk music.

Whatever the origin, Irish Christmas in America is crafted to put a bounce in your step. Tune in for this live WFMT Impromptu, Wednesday at 3:00 PM

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