Henry Douglas at the World’s Room

Henry Douglas

13 March, 2020

The Waverley, St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh


Our guest this month is the legendary Hawick singer, Henry Douglas, who cites fellow Borderer, the late Willie Scott as his great friend and mentor. Henry  was born in the Yarrow Valley and has farmed all his life, mainly at Howahill near Bonchester Bridge. He is an enthusiast for Borders life, poetry and song, has been very active in the Border common ridings (former president of all three of Hawick’s Common Riding clubs) and was Official Hawick Common Riding Song Singer from 1985 – 2000. In 2014 he received the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Bonchester. Speaking to the local paper on the news of the award, Henry said, “I’ve had great enjoyment from my singing and met some super folk. It’s been a huge part of my life and so different from farming every day.”

Ellie Beaton at the World’s Room

Ellie Beaton (2)

14 February, 2020

The Waverley, St Mary’s St, Edinburgh


Ellie Beaton is our youngest guest at the World’s Room so far. Hailing from just outside Rothienorman, Ellie has been brought up with traditional and bothy ballads alike. Last year she has performed at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Aberdeen Music Hall and as a guest artist at various folk festivals across the country. In the past year she also collaborated Malinky, guesting on their album, Handsel. For 2020, Ellie has qualified for the Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions competition at Elgin where she will compete against the best Bothy Ballad singers in the country. And later this year she moves to Glasgow to study at the RCS.

Hamish Henderson Night at the World’s Room


13 December, 2019, 8pm

Canon’s Gait (NB), 232 Canongate, Edinburgh

In what will likely be the final event celebrating Hamish Henderson’s centenary, The World’s Room invites you to round off the year by contributing something in memory of the man. No guest this month – it’s just yourselves. It could be one of his songs, something associated with one of the many people he collected from, something from the Kist o Riches. Or it could by anything – the very fact we’re gathering to sing is as fitting a way to remember him as any. Note the change of venue, for this month only.

Stanley Robertson Night at the World’s Room with Janice Clark and Iona Fyfe



15 November, 2019

The Waverley, St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh

To commemorate the decade that has passed since the death of Stanley Robertson’s, one of the great traveller singers and storytellers, The World’s Room this month features two singers who have been directly and indirectly influenced by him.

Janice Clark was born and brought up in Aberdeen and from a very early age, took an interest in the traditional music and song of the North East of Scotland. Her ballad singing style was heavily influenced by some of the great local source singers like Stanley and his near relations, Jeannie Robertson and her daughter, Lizzie Higgins . Janice began singing at Folk Clubs and Festivals in her early teens and travelled and recorded with bands such as Iolair, Lang Johnnie Moore and Highland Connection. 

Janice began teaching singing workshops at Folk Festivals throughout Scotland. She now tutors for SC&T in Aberdeen as musical director of the SC&T Choir and is interested in helping experienced singers build a repertoire, develop their individual style and gain performance skills for solo and group singing.

Iona Fyfe is gaining recognition as one of Scotland’s finest young folk singers. Although she never met Stanley Robertson she regards herself as being rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland which he embodied. The youngest ever winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018, she has been described as “one of the best Scotland has to offer”  (Global-Music.de) and as “a Scottish folksinger, magical and charismatic” by no less than Rolling Stone magazine.



Joe Aitken at the World’s Room


11 October, 2019

The Waverley St Mary’s St, Edinburgh


Joe Aitken is one of the great upholders of Scotland’s bothy ballad tradition and a singer of Scots song who has taken his native tradition to appreciative audiences all over Scotland, in England, Ireland and Germany. The winner of many singing competitions for his authentic narrative style, Joe is literally a champion of champions, having won for a record six times the Bothy Ballad Champions competition held annually at Elgin Town Hall.

Neither wonder! Joe was born into the bothy ballad tradition in 1944 to parents who were both from Aberdeenshire, although working on a farm in Perthshire at that time. Joe’s earliest memories are of that farm and hearing his father singing, and he remembers being hoisted onto a kist at a young age to sing ‘Loch Lomond’ to the men in the farm bothy.

It wasn’t until the early 1980s, however, that Joe began to take singing more seriously. In 1982, the Kinross Folk Festival moved to Kirriemuir, where by this time Joe was working on the family farm, and Joe was encouraged to enter the singing competition. He didn’t win that one but within a few years he had won the first of many cups, at Auchtermuchty, and was mixing with his heroes, including Jock Duncan and Tam Reid.

Jock and Tam were happy to teach Joe any song he showed an interest in and other singers, including Belle Stewart, made tapes of songs for him, making Joe a genuine keeper of the oral tradition. For Joe, who worked on the land for most of his working life, the bothy ballads are a social and political history of farms and farming and the big ballads, or muckle sangs, a treasure trove of stories that he gets great pleasure from sharing. He also enjoys the humour in some of the less reverent traditional songs.

As well as singing in competitions, Joe has sung at festivals including Sidmouth and Whitby and he was honoured to appear in the opening concert at Celtic Connections in 2016, marking the 50th anniversary of the TMSA. He is equally happy to sing to much smaller audiences and enjoys creating a rapport with listeners in intimate venues (like the Waverley!)

He is widely admired among his contemporaries and hugely respected by the many younger singers he has influenced and he was a very popular and deserving winner of the Scots Singer of the Year title at the MG Scots Trad Music Awards in 2010. He is also a member of the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.

_(Photo of Joe by Louis de Carlo)__________________________________

Susie Kelly at the World’s Room


Susie Kelly

13 September, 2019

The Waverley, St Mary’s St, Edinburgh


Susie is a weel kent face on the folk scene having been a member of the 4-part harmony group Stravaig and for her work in Community Music, running singing groups, singing workshops and her involvement with Festivals.

From Edinburgh originally and now living in Stirling, her songs are a mix of traditional and contemporary, mostly unaccompanied and usually with a chorus. Her cuddles are also weel kent!



Mark Dunlop at the World’s Room


Mark Dunlop (3)

14 June, 2019

The Waverley, St Mary’s St, Edinburgh


Mark Dunlop comes from a musical family and has been singing in company for years. He moved to Scotland from Northern Ireland to study in the early 90s. As a founder-member of Malinky Mark has been promoting traditional song since the band’s beginnings 20 years ago. His solo album ‘Islands on the Moon’ is a fine showcase of Ulster song of which he is an occasional tutor. As well as singing Mark plays bodhrán and tin whistle.

Amy Leach at the World’s Room

Amy Leach

19 April, 2019

The Waverley, St Mary’s St, Edinburgh


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 at the World’s Room

Vincent Doherty

15 March, 2019

The Waverley, St Mary’s St, Edinburgh


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.