Mountain Dulcimer Performer, Folk Singer, Songwriter. Jean Ritchie was the youngest of 14 children from a well-known family of traditional singers. Jean’s father taught her to play the Mountain Dulcimer and she was first recorded in 1948. A Fullbright Scholar, her 1952 release Jean Ritchie Singing Traditional Songs of Her Kentucky Mountain Family, was the first folk recording to be issued on the Electra label.
Folklorist Alan Lomax recorded Ritchie’s songs for the Library of Congress Folksong Archives. Her light voice and simple arrangements have made her very popular. Ritchie’s composition, My Dear Companion was recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton in 1987. Over the years, Jean Ritchie’s name has become synonymous with excellence in traditional music.