Congratulations to Iona Fyfe who has been nominated in Scots Performer o the Year sponsored by Tracs in the Scots Language Awards 2020. Vote now!
We asked Iona Fyfe the following questions.
Tell us aboot yersel or yer ootfit.
Am a Scots sangster fae Huntly, Aiberdeenshire. I hae grown up aneth the tradition, learnin tradition ballads fae sangsters an’ gan tae singaroons an’ folk clubs. A bide in Glesca noo an’ I graduated wi a first class honours degree in Traditional Music fae I Royal Conservatoire o Scotland.
Wiv been a ower the kintra an farther oot, singin oor sangs, ballads and bothy ballads in Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Poland an as hine oot as Australia an’ Canada. A’ve bin a National Director o’ the TMSA (Traditional Music and Song Association) fir a puckle o year an noo sit on the Scotland & NI Regional Committee o’ I Musicians Union. In 2020, av bin warkin wi Oor Vyce – the campaign fir a Scots Language Act an hae bin deein their social media an communications.
Whit wis it got ye involvit wi the Scots leid?
Fin I wis five year aul, my faimly teen me tae the Keith TMSA festival and giy near forced me inti enterin i’ doric poetry wi’ a short poem by Sheena Blackhall. Each year i gid back an stairtit gan tae the ither competitions tae compete in the doric poetry an also the ballad singin inaa. I stairtet tae learn poems by thon brilliant north east poets sic as Ian Middleton an’ wis giy fond o it. But singin won ma hairt and i stairted singin mair than deein doric poetry.
It’s nae an easy question tae tell ye why I’m involved in scots leid, it’s jist natural. The wey that I interpret ballads an’ bothy ballads o’ Aiberdeenshire means thit I get tae sing in my mither tongue and I hae a creative ootlet far I can sing in the byleid that these sangs ging wi’ an were originally sung in.
I canna fathom foo we can hae oor sangs, music, literature, buiks, poems an mair in Scots, yet Scots isna recognised as a lawfu leid. I canna believe thit I hae a degree in Scots Sang, an I record these sangs and tak the, aa ower the warld, yet Scots as an entity isna kent o as a lawfu leid. I’m fired up an passionate in promotin Scots an fir this reason, hae become mair involved wi Scots – jinin Oor Vyce. Haen lawfu recognition wi a Scots Language Act wid add mair legitimacy tae the leid, an I’m giy passionate thit oor bairns maun feel comfortable an at ease wi their ain tongue an their ain identity. Haen mair Scots in the media, classroom and ilka day live wid ging a lang wye in encouraging the neist generation o spikkers.
Ony particlar career heighlichts?
In 2020 I wis selectit as an Offeicial Showcase Artist fir Folk Alliance International – I traivelled tae New Orleans an performed at the conference. A career heighlicht wis fan I became the youngest iver winner o the Scots Sangster o the Year award at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2018. This year, I wis asked by the National Library o Congress in America tae perform for the American Folklife Centre virtually. It wis a real honour tae perform fir sic a kenspeckle organisation. Its giy hard tae pint oot specific heighlichts, as ivery gig and tour is unique and braw tae be pairt o.
Wha’s yer plans fir the days aheid?
It’s nae an affa easy time fir musicians or onybdy in the airts inoo. I hope tae write an record my seicond album, based on the collecting of American song collector James Madison Carpenter. I da kain fan I will be able tae tour the album, bit I’m gan tae try yaise this time tae write an record it!
The Scots Language Awards 2020 will be online at www.scotslanguageawards.com. We will have a mixture of events on the 23rd / 24th October. Performing at the Award on Saturday 24th September will be Gerda Stevenson, Gary Robertson, Shona Donaldson and Jim Malcolm.
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