Congratulations to Fiona Ross who has been nominated in Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year sponsored by TMSA in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2019. Vote here! Vote now!
We asked Fiona Ross the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
I’ve loved singing Scottish songs since I was wee. My dad had a real love of Scottish music so we listened to it all the time when I was growing up in Glasgow. I lived all over Scotland – Blairgowrie, Aberdeen, Stornoway, Edinburgh…before moving to Australia 10 years ago. I now live in a former gold-mining town called Blackwood – population 275 – surrounded by the Wombat State Forest. (As I write there’s a band of yellow-crested cockatoos screeching outside my window…!). When I first moved over here, the lovely Gordeanna McCulloch kept me supplied with a steady stream of Scots songs and ballads to add to my repertoire. Gordeanna encouraged me to “keep the tradition going” here in Australia. I work at doing just that.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
As soon as I set foot in the Edinburgh Folk Club (several decades ago now!) and started hearing great singers performing traditional Scots song, there was no turning back…I’ve been hooked on the songs and immersed in the traditional style ever since. Scots song covers the gamut of human emotion, and I appreciate being part of a community that has a deep knowledge of and respect for the material. And really…what’s not to love about the big ballads? Here in Australia, I enjoy being able to share the songs with audiences who might not have had the chance to experience the tradition in all its richness and diversity.
Any particular career highlights?
Since moving to Australia, I’ve been fortunate to perform with wonderful musicians at a host of amazing folk festivals all across the country. At the same time, it’s really important to me to stay connected to the heart of the tradition and I continue to take part in traditional singing festivals and events in Scotland whenever I can. I’ve learnt a huge amount from other singers of traditional song, and I’m especially grateful to Andrew Hunter for all he has shared with me. I enjoy the freedom of singing unaccompanied, but I’ve also been very fortunate to work with some incredible guitarists in recent years. My last album – part of The Tradition Bearers series of recordings – was with Tony McManus. I’ve also toured with ex-Steelye Span guitarist Ken Nicol. Right now I work mostly with Aria award-winner Shane O’Mara. When I’m back in Scotland I love hooking up with Brian Miller who I was in the band Handsel with…many moons ago!
What are your plans for the future?
I’m working on a new album of Scots song with Shane O’Mara at the minute. Other than that, I’m happy to keep doing what I do – flying the flag for the Scots song tradition in Australia through my concerts, workshops and talks. I’m hoping to spend even more time in Scotland, retaining strong links with the traditional singing community there. Oh…and I’m doing a PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium. I’ve been interviewing traditional singers in Scotland to explore and document their perspectives on Scots singing. My plan is to finish writing up my thesis and get it submitted…soon…!
Read more about Fiona Ross
If you wish to attend the final ceremony, tickets are are priced £25 (+ Booking Fee), and Concessions are available. To book please call Aberdeen Music Hall Box Office on 01224 641122, or visit: https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/whats-on/all-shows/the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards/2734. Bands performing on Saturday 7th December include Skerryvore, Session A9, Benedict Morris (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award Winner 2019), Heisk, Aberdeenshire Youth Band, Sian, Robyn Stapleton, Mairi Campbell and the Pendulum Band, Susan MacFadyen Scottish Dance Band and more to be announced. There will also be a late night ceilidh after the Awards till 1am.
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