Ruth Barrett



To Contact Ruth Barrett:

Ruth Barrett is an internationally known pioneering musician/priestess and mountain dulcimer player, whose numerous recordings beginning in 1980 with collaborator Cyntia Smith, are among the pioneering musical works in the U.S. pagan and Goddess Spirituality Movements. She is best known for her specialized genre of music and seasonal music programs – songs and chants that focus on the embodied power of women, goddess mythology, and magically themed traditional folk songs inspired by folklore, and the spirituality innate in the natural world.

Ruth started playing the mountain dulcimer in 1971 and recognized as a pioneering contributor to the California mountain dulcimer renaissance of the 1970s and 80s. Her classical finger picking style on the mountain dulcimer, her arrangements of traditional Celtic folk music, combined with a powerful and beautiful voice, has enchanted audiences for over four decades. Ruth has twelve CD studio also recordings to date, and her songs been included in several special CD compilations. Dulcimer lessons with Ruth are now available online at the Kentucky Music Institute. She is currently working on a book of dulcimer arrangements that will be available in Spring of 2022.

Ruth performed with women’s music pioneers including Kay Gardner, opening for Meg Christian and folk legends including Malvina Reynolds, Jean Redpath, Frankie Armstrong, and Jean Ritchie. With dulcimer builder and player, Joellen Lapidus, Ruth transcribed Joni Mitchell’s dulcimer arrangements for the songbooks, Hits and Misses (Warner Bros. Pub.). Ruth has performed at numerous festivals nationally including the Michigan Women’s Music Festival, the National Women’s Music Festival, Pantheacon, Pagan Spirit Gathering, and The Glastonbury Goddess Festival, and in 2011 was presented with the Jane Schliessman Award for outstanding contributions to women’s music from Women in the Arts at the National Women’s Music Festival. Ruth was the director of the Candlelight Concert at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival every August since 1991 until the festival closed in 2015. In 2015 Ruth was honored to give a special concert performance as part of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ruth is having a wonderful time playing with cellist Rachel Alexander and percussionist Pele Yemaja since moving to Michigan in 2017.

Ruth is also a seasoned ritualist, speaker, teacher, and author of critically acclaimed Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries: Intuitive Ritual Creation. Ruth and has contributed to several anthologies including Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings of Priestesses and Foremothers Of The Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries.


“… music which faithfully recreates eras so far bygone that it reaches into our psychic depths of myth and imagination, emotionally transporting us in ways nothing on the radio can.”

- Music Connection Magazine

“Carefully arranged and skillfully played...a wide range of color and expression.” - L.A. Times

“Honest and sensitive folk artistry.” - Frets Magazine

“This is Goddess music at its finest - the music that Ruth was born to create.”

- The Beltane Papers Magazine

“Ruth created a sacred space for us with her songs to the Goddess, and the power of her voice, accompanied or accapella, proved the power of music as magic.” - Hecate’s Loom

"Their entire approach is very artistic, refined and aesthetically elegant. In a world in which traditional notions of beauty are constantly being maligned, the music of Barrett and Smith is undeniably and unapologetically beautiful."

~Folk Scene Magazine

“Ruth has just released her tenth CD, Garden of Mysteries showcases Ruth’s excellent finger-picking dulcimer style and her powerful, beautiful voice. Listening to each song is akin to picking up a series of beautiful objects, each begging for your rapt attention. As you begin to really appreciate the wonder and promise of the object you’re holding, it fades only to be replaced by a new and equally mysterious subject for your careful examination. Each object is a differing facet of a very cohesive whole, and the listening experience is as restful and thought provoking as an actual trip to a real garden. Ruth’s original compositions site nicely alongside songs from Robin Williamson, Mark Simos, Les Barker, Lorraine Lee Hammond, and others. There is a definite but mystical bond at work, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel it too.”

reviewed by Neal Walters for Dulcimer Players News, Summer 2008

“What a wonderful album. If you like magical music as much as I do you'll have to have this. Faerie songs, Arthurian songs, Celtic ballads whispily and wonderfully woven in the chords of dulcimer and harp. I loved 'The Fairy Boy', 'Apples Avalon' and 'The Fairy Queen' especially, but the lovely and powerful renditions of the traditional 'Tam Lin' and 'Thomas the Rhymer' are every bit as good. Get this and drift away to the Otherworld.”

– 2012 Review by John Matthews (Celtic scholar and author) who gave Songs of the Otherworld 5 stars on Amazon


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