Congratulations to Fionnag NicChoinnich (Fiona Mackenzie) who has been nominated in Gaelic singer of the Year sponsored by The Highland Society of London in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2020. Vote here! Vote now!
We asked Fionnag NicChoinnich the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
Fionnag NicChoinnich sings in the acclaimed duo Brian Ó hEadhra | Fionnag NicChoinnich who have released two albums in the past three years; TÌR – Highland Life and Lore and TUATH – Songs of the Northlands. Fionnag is from the Isle of Lewis and has been singing and writing music in Gaelic and English from a young age. She has performed in bands and projects including Seelyhoo, Mackenzie, Anam, Cruinn, and Struileag. She released a solo album entitled Elevate on Linn Records in 2006 which received high critical acclaim. In 2017 she sang and performed on two major media projects; The Outlaw King – a Netflix film which came out in 2018 and the computer game The Bard’s Tale IV. Fionnag has worked as a music tutor for various youth projects in the Highlands including the Youth Music Initiative, run by Fèis Rois, Eden Court classes and Arts Play.
“Her voice ranges from gentle and tender to full and forceful, while her lyrics are always thought-provoking and insightful. She also has a particularly ingenious turn of phrase, writing lyrics that invoke emotions on the listener.” Living Tradition
“…a magnificent and often hauntingly evocative voice” Audiophile Audition
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
I was brought up in the culture of Gaelic singing, my father being the conductor of the local Gaelic choir for children, teens and adults. We had a lot of music in our house growing up and this was a great foundation for me to pursue a career in music. I’ve been lucky to have worked with some of Scotland and Ireland’s best musicians over the years who have helped me grow as an artist and performer.
Any particular career highlights?
Some which come to mind are:
– Performing with Mackenzie (with two of my sisters) at the Michael Marra memorial concert in Resolis Hall, Black Isle and Caird Hall, Dundee.
– Touring and recording with my duo Brian Ó hEadhra | Fionnag NicChoinnich has been amazing, especially when our two teenage children join us on stage.
– Working with amazing producers and musicians in the studio including Calum Malcolm who produced my solo album, Elevate, and with Mike Vass who co-produced TÌR and TUATH.
– Singing with the Gaelic quartet, Cruinn, is always a pleasure, particularly when we perform to audiences in the Highlands and Islands.
What are your plans for the future?
Brian and I are working on our next album which will celebrate family, friends and intergenerational transmission of traditions. This whole project will be done with artists from the Highlands and Islands and will feature songs from our past as well as newly written material.
Read more about Fionnag NicChoinnich (Fiona Mackenzie)
The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, Na Trads 2020, will be broadcast on BBC ALBA on 12th December 2020 at 9pm where the award winners will be announced along with specially recorded music performances. During the day on Saturday the 12th, you will be able to watch from 1pm til 9pm a day of live Scottish trad music including Kinnaris Quintet, Dallahan, Inyal, Paul McKenna Band, Ryan Young and Jenn Butterworth and many more here https://youtu.be/amByvVzxl5E. Keep up to date with all the latest information by joining the Hands Up for Trad newsletter at https://handsup.link/Newsletter or use the hashtags #natrads #HUFTonline.
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