Feb 15 2021 update: WEFT-FM's Valentine playlist can be found here https://spinitron.com/WEFT/show/116412/Celtic-Music-Go-Bragh-Go-Bragh. It's a two-hour programme so the list is long but expect to run, for example, into Siucra (as described below), Altan, Karen Matheson, the Tannahill Weavers and, um, Bing Crosby ...
We've already had most of Valentine's Day in the UK. But if you're across the Atlantic, there's a treat in store a at 6pm Illinois time (eastern states) which means midnight on this side of the Atantlic.
Juliet Youngren has made contact with Salut! Live to tell us about the folk music radio show, Celtic Music Go Bragh Go Bragh, that she hosts in rotation with Bill Wolfe on WEFT-FM, based in Champaign, Illinois.
Their declared aim is to present:
"... a wide range of Celtic, and Celtic-inspired, music, from the Celtic nations and around the world. With a different host each week of the month, the focus of the show changes – from hornpipes to songs, from fiddle music to Celtic rock, from Irish to Breton – but the commitment to bringing you the best new and classic Celtic music never does."
They mean what they say when suggesting diversity.
Bill Jones and Kathryn Tickell popped up and I dare say I'll come across more when I delve further.
Which you can do, too.
In a message to this site, Juliet tells us the playlists are archived, along with audio files of the last couple of shows, at https://spinitron.com/WEFT/show/116412/Celtic-Music-Go-Bragh-Go-Bragh
Which brings us neatly back to St Valentine.
Juliet got in touch after seeing a piece here on the Ewan MacColl song, Sweet Thames, Flow Softly.
"I'm very fond of this song," she wrote. "I'm planning on playing it for my Valentine's Day radio show."
She's even read my friend Bill Taylor's comment. He'd dismissed my choices and said: "I'd like to hear Sweet Thames, Flow Softly given a more full-blooded treatment, turned into something really celebratory. The Mighty Doonans spring to mind, or even the Pogues. Good becomes great."
Juliet's response: "To Bill, for a 'celebratory' version, I'm very fond of the recording by the Boston group Siucra, from their 2003 album A Place I Know. It's faster than most, with a bodhran to give it energy."
And here is where I'd normally say "here it is".
But I can find no online version that might be embedded at Salut! Live. You will just have to listen to Juliet's show or check its link tomorrow.
And I also looked out for Eddi Reader's playlist for a roughly similar show this evening on Scala Radio. There’s Eddi herself, a healthy balance of styles from folk to classical and the aforementioned Bill Taylor's preferred version of Carrickfergus, by Van Morrison with the Chieftains.
But Sweet Thames, Flow Softly is the song that drew Juliet and WEFT-FM here despite its unhappily unromantic ending.
In Siucra's absence, I offer a version, still too uncelebratory for Bill, I fear, by the Irish-American band Cherish the Ladies ...