Fiona grew up in Partick, in the west end of Glasgow. She inherited a love of Scottish music from her dad, and began singing popular Scottish songs from a young age. It was in the 1980s that Fiona truly embraced the Scots song tradition, immersing herself in Edinburgh’s vibrant folk scene and serving her apprenticeship in the folk clubs and memorable singing sessions of the time. She was fortunate to be singing at sessions in the company of many fine singers at the heart of the tradition in Scotland and who are some of Fiona’s favourite singers to this day – Aileen Carr, Maureen Jelks, Cy Laurie and Danny Couper to name a few.
Since moving to Melbourne in 2009, Fiona has continued to pursue her passion for Scots song. In addition to her busy schedule of concerts, workshops and talks, she is currently completing a PhD through the University of Melbourne Conservatorium, working with traditional singers in Scotland and overseas to explore and document the importance of a singing style and tradition that is now rapidly changing. As a singer of Scots song, Fiona was mentored by esteemed tradition bearer Andrew Hunter.
Amy Leach is a traditional singer from Edinburgh, now based in Newcastle. She studied with Sandra Kerr and Chris Hendry on the Newcastle University Folk and Traditional Music Degree and then completed an MLitt on Traditional Song (which featured some research with some lovely singers from The World’s Room!). Although she now spends most of her time producing the Folkworks programme at Sage Gateshead she looks forward to any opportunity she can get to sing a big ballad or two.
Vincent Doherty was born and raised in Derry, but has lived in Dublin for the past 40 years. Hugely influenced by Derry’s Kevin Mitchell and Tyrone singer Geordie Hanna, other influences included “northern style” singers Paddy Tunney, Len Graham, Cathal McConnell and Sean Cochran. In 2015 he recorded his first CD “The High Walls of Derry” accompanied by some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians. Vincent also plays the flute, and for many years taught Set Dancing at the Cobblestone, home of traditional music in Dublin. A retired Social Worker he lives in Dublin with his wife Linda and family.
Raised on hearing traditional music and song in Tornaveen in rural Aberdeenshire, Allan Taylor started singing traditional songs after entering the Buchan Hertiage Society competitions in 2006 and quickly got involved with the Traditional Music and Song Association in Aberdeen. Allan has a developed a wide repertoire of North East song from traditional ballads and Bothy Ballads to comic songs, he has taken second prize at the annual Champion of Champions’ Bothy Ballad Competition held in Elgin each year. He has been a guest as both singer and MC at many of the festivals and was the MC as well as a singer in the first TMSA Wee Red Book Concert at Celtic Connections.
Two lovely singers for January. Kevin Mitchell from Derry City has lived in Glasgow since 1967. With his distinctive style he has taken his traditional repertoire, which is mainly based on the songs of his native Ulster, to many clubs and festivals, at home and abroad. Ellen Mitchell has also lived in Glasgow for many years, having returned there from the Argyll coast at age 6. Her repertoire is mainly traditional, with the occasional newer song. She has also been involved in a variety of performing and tutoring events. Kevin has recorded on Topic and Greentrax, Ellen on Living Tradition, and both featured on a double CD for Musical Traditions.
Change of guest – we are delighted that George Duff has agreed to step in after circumstances intervened. George’s prowess as a singer, widely known for some time of course, received official recognition earlier this month when he was nominated as Scots Singer of the Year at the Trad Music Awards. This on the back of a year which saw the release of the widely acclaimed ‘The Collier Laddie’, as he put it ‘my first, last and only solo album’. Temporary change of venue as before – Scottish Storytelling Centre, 7.30pm.
Despite singing all through childhood and school, and growing up with traditional and folk music, Tracy Boyle didn’t come to back to it until finding herself at Keith Festival in the late 90s. A move to Edinburgh in 1997 brought her to the Scots Music Group singing classes, then the TMSA competitions at Keith, and so it went on. Since then, Tracy has been a guest at Keith and Kirrie Festivals, the Frank Harte Festival in Dublin (unexpectedly), the Celtic Connections Wee Red Book concert in 2017, and the Glasgow Ballad Workshop in 2018, and she has sung at fundraisers for Cullerlie Singing Weekend and Kirrie Festival. Tracy was the MC at The World’s Room for four years and can’t wait to retire so that she can spend all her time at singing weekends and sessions.
(NB temporary change of venue and earlier start time)