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. At twenty-years-old, Iona has established a strong voicing of place in her repertoire and was nominated as Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2017. A finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Iona has been described as “one of the best that Scotland has to offer.” (Global-Music.de) and was the winner of the Molloy Award at The Trip to Birmingham Irish Trad Fest 2017. Iona’s voice has been described “a testament to the strength, endurance and adaptability of the tradition.” (FolkWords).
Iona’s debut release, “Away From My Window” is a concept album, inspired by the source and revivalist singers of Aberdeenshire. An exploration of her unique style and songwriting voice, Away From My Window features archive material of singers such as Stanley Robertson and Lizzie Higgins whilst drawing on the work of more recent songmakers such as Michael Marra and Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap). Iona’s offers innovative interpretations of ballads, self-penned and contemporary songs alike, whilst remaining sympathetic to the song tradition which Iona grew up around. Produced by Jani Lang, of Dallahan, Away From My Window features a stellar folk line-up of musicians such as Luc McNally (Dosca), Tim Edey (Tim Edey Trio), Charlie Grey (Charlie Grey and Joseph Peach), Simon Gall (Salsa Celtica), David Foley (RURA), Graham Rorie (Gnoss), Charlie Stewart, and Ross Miller.
“Away From My Window” was premiered at a sold out Celtic Connections performance featuring a larger musical ensemble and live on-stage sampling of source singers. In 2018, Iona looks forward to a busy touring schedule in the UK, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Holland and Canada including festivals such as Ely Folk Festival, Folk am Neckar, Fife Sing and Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
With her band, comprised of Luc McNally, Charlie Grey and Ross Miller, Iona has performed at several festivals throughout the UK from Orkney Folk Festival to Sark Folk Festival all whilst continuing her demanding studies at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Iona has gained a FLCM in Scottish Traditional Voice from The London College of Music and is one of six National Directors of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland.
Growing up within the TMSA movement in Scotland’s ballad county Aberdeenshire, Iona met many revivalist singers such as Jimmie Hutchison, Joe Aitken and Carole Prior who influenced her ballad and bothy ballad style. Attending singarounds, ceilidhs and competitions from 5 years of age, Iona learnt her repertoire through oral transmission (and of course the internet!), and is still a regular within the competitive ballad circuit. An exponent of Doric dialect and poetry, she has won a number of prestigious folksong prizes including the Greig-Duncan Folksong Competition. A familiar face on the UK folk club circuit, Iona is just as much at home in an unaccompanied singing setting, as she is with instrumental ensembles, and was awarded an unprecedented 100 points for her Bonny Udny at Buchan Heritage Society 2016.
At mere twenty years old, Iona has a number of high profile appearances under her belt, including performances at The Royal Albert Hall, Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom, Aberdeen Music Hall and a sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe show. Iona has featured singing for Prunella Scales and Timothy West in the Channel 4 series Great Canal Journeys as well as featuring on the BBC Scotland series Landward and most recently, the 2017 remake of Whiskey Galore featuring Eddie Izard.
Described as “one of the most stunning voices on the circuit today” (Artree), Iona’s 6-track EP was received to great acclaim and has been re-released in German speaking countries by CPL Music. A two-time semi-finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Iona has collaborated with musicians of various genres such as Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap), James Graham (The Twilight Sad) and most recently recorded on both CS Buchan and Best Girl Athlete’s new releases. In 2018, Iona will tour with the TMSA Young Trad Tour and will start working on a debut duo EP with fellow Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student, Aberdeen singer, Cameron Nixon.