Fri 16 Oct, 7.00pm
LIVE from Laidlaw Music Centre
"I first heard Iona's voice during a Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail gig in her home region of Aberdeenshire some years ago. Her passion for the cultures and traditions of the seaside towns of the North East were strong and since then she has gone on to be recognised as one of the country's finest ballad singers deeply rooted in those very traditions. What a concert to start "Distant Voices"! Iona's concert will include music from the North East as well as responding to our theme of Coasts and Waters. This fantastic voice will be joined by pianist Michael Biggins who regularly works with former festival artist Kathryn Tickell. There will be shivers down my spine as we hear the first concert in our hybrid virtual festival - I hope you enjoy"
Amanda, Festival Director
Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. Winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018, Iona has been described as “one of the best Scotland has to offer.” (Global-Music.de) With a number of high profile appearances under her belt, Iona, a mere 22 years of age, has toured throughout the UK, Poland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Canada and Australia. Iona has performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as part of the World Premiere of Disney Pixar’s Brave in Concert at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Released in 2019, Dark Turn of Mind is Iona’s first EP entirely in English and features six ballads and songs found in both Appalachia and Aberdeenshire and has been described as “a new interpretation to the country genre” – Maverick. In 2020, Iona performed as an Official Showcase Artist at Folk Alliance International held in New Orleans.
Iona studied at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and graduated with a first class honours degree in Traditional Music and holds an FLCM in Traditional Voice from London College of Music. A sell-out show at Edinburgh Fringe Festival for two consecutive years, Iona was a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year and won the Molloy Award at Birmingham Irish Trad Fest. In 2018, Iona performed at Interceltique Festival De Lorient where she was described as “a Scottish folksinger, magical and charismatic” (Rolling Stone, France). She was nominated for “One to Watch” and “Best Live Performance” at the Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2018.
Michael is an active performer, teacher and accompanist and has performed at venues such as The Sage Gateshead, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Kings Place and The Bluthner Piano Centre in London, he also travelled to Canada in February 2014 where he was pianist in residence to the Newcastle based choir ‘Quay Voices’, who were recording their latest CD. Michael has competed in many festivals and competitions locally and nationally including the EPTA piano competition and the BBC young musician of the year.
Michael has taught piano, piano accordion and music theory both privately and as part of the ‘Little Fingers’ music school for several years and his pupils have won prizes at many local music festivals. Recently, two of Michaels pupils gained entry into the prestigious youth folk ensemble ‘Folkestra’ based at Sage Gateshead.
Michael is currently a 4th year undergraduate student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Professor Sinae Lee on piano. Prior to this, he studied at the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester where he studied with Graham Caskie. Michael also studied with respected pianists Eileen Bown and Jean Armstrong who are based in Newcastle
As an accordionist, Michael currently holds the title of All Scottish Champion as part of the ‘Comhaltas Fleadh’. Michael also plays the accordion in numerous different outfits across the UK and currently tours with Northern Company, TRIP, The Canny Band, Tom McConville, Luke Daniels and Irish Celtic - Spirit of Ireland Dance Show