Gillian’s musical education began at Balnain House, Inverness. She went on to attend the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton as a clarsach player and singer before gaining an honours degree in Applied Music from Strathclyde University. It was then a natural progression to start The Duplets with Fraya Thomsen, who had been a friend and fellow Balnain House harper in their teenage years. Gillian has performed across the UK, Europe and North America in live settings, on television and radio most notably with The Duplets, The State Broadcasters, Abagail Grey and Agnes Obel.
Gillian has also been a member of Glasgow based band The State Broadcasters since 2006, highlights of which have included recording their debut album “The Ship and the Iceberg” which was received to critical acclaim. The band performed the score for BAFTA winning short film “Fixing Luka” (dir. Jessican Ashman) which won an additional BAFTA New Talent award for the soundtrack. The State Broadcasters have now completed their second album “Ghosts We Must Carry” which will be released in 2012.
Fraya Thomsen and Gillian wrote and performed the score for short film “The Worm Inside’ (Dir. Sam Firth) in 2010.
Gillian has recently been touring Europe extensively with singer-songwriter, pianist and producer Agnes Obel and electro-acoustic ‘cello pioneer Anne Müller. This has led to many fantastic opportunities to bring the Scottish harp to new audiences and develop her skills as a singer.
Teaching is still an important element of Gillian’s career as she continues to teach for East Renfrewshire Council, The Clarsach Society and Fèisean nan Gàidheal, as well as numerous harp festivals which always bring great fun and inspiration.
Gillian’s blog posts:
I must admit that I have fallen behind on my blog, but have been to see Ellen a few times since I last wrote and I think things are going well. I have been on an exploration into musicology – specifically Women’s Songs of defiance and social change and I have been doing a course […]
I have been focussing on 3 songs so far and we spent time today talking about where we would go next. The 3 songs so far have been Mary Mild, Far Over the Forth and The Border Widow’s Lament. I love them all, and they are of a similar ilk – dealing with the difficult […]
So, having met and blethered with Ellen at the last session we were keen to do more singing this time. I have been enjoying her CD ‘On Yonder Lea’ since I saw her last and was particularly taken with the songs ‘Far Over the Forth’ and ‘Mary Mild’. I have been listening to different versions […]
Here is Gillian Fleetwood’s first Paths to Songs blog. When setting off to my first session with Ellen Mitchell, I was struck by my novelty of not having my clarsach with me. I hadn’t met Ellen before but I was very much looking forward to it and, especially, to hearing her sing. Being able to […]