Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. In 2021, she became the first singer to win the coveted title of Musician of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. Iona is a fierce advocate for the official recognition of the Scots Language, leading a successful campaign to pressure Spotify into recognising Scots and add it to its list of languages. Honoured at the Scots Language Awards with the title of Speaker of the Year in 2021, Iona performs both folk and pop songs in the Scots language, remaining true to her rooting in tradition. Iona has featured in several publications including The Sunday Post, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Times. She won the title of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2018 and was described as “one of the best Scotland has to offer.” (Global-Music.de)
Iona has made musical appearances on several TV broadcasts including Landward (BBC Scotland), Great Canal Journeys (Channel 4) Secret Scotland with Susan Calman (Channel 5), Binneas Na Trads (BBC ALBA), Under Canvas (BBC ALBA), Hame (BBC Northern Ireland) and Great Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo (BBC Two). Her music has received airplay and has been performed in session on radio shows such as Music Planet (BBC Radio 3), The Folk Show (BBC Radio 2) The Afternoon Show, Take The Floor and Travelling Folk (BBC Radio Scotland).
With extensive touring experience, Iona, a mere 23 years of age, has performed throughout the UK, Poland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, 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.
Iona studied at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and graduated with a first-class honours degree in Traditional Music and holds an FLCM from London College of Music. A finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2021, Iona has achieved sell-out shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival for three consecutive years. 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 full band line-up. Performing at Interceltique Festival De Lorient in France, she was described as “a Scottish folksinger, magical and charismatic” (Rolling Stone, France)..
Iona is a regional member of the Musicians Union’s Scotland and Northern Ireland branch. She serves as a director of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland. In 2020, Iona helped to found Oor Vyce, the campaign group dedicated to securing official recognition of the Scots Language and lobbied 35 out of 129 MSPs to sign a Scots Pledge, which would seek to secure protection, funding and promotion of the language that over 1.5million people speak. (2011 census). Iona is a passionate supporter of the statutory recognition of the Scots language. Iona has spoken out against sexual harassment and champions equality within the music industry. She has also discussed fair pay for music streaming and the effect of Brexit on live touring. Iona appeared on BBC News, interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire about implications that Brexit has caused for touring musicians.
Growing up within the Traditional Music and Song Association movement, 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 mainly through oral transmission and is still a regular within the competitive ballad circuit.
Iona’s debut album Away From My Window was held to critical acclaim and received nationwide airplay on programmes such as BBC Radio 2 The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk, Take The Floor and BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal. 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). “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.
“Describing Iona Fyfe as a Scottish folksinger is probably doing her an injustice, as the versatility displayed on her new, EP release, Dark Turn of Mind, reflects her grasp and understanding of jazz, Americana and much more.” – RnR Magazine
“Poignant and well delivered. Singing well within herself, Iona’s voice, at times reminiscent of Cara Dillon, is well suited to the ballads recorded on this album.” – Scottish Field
★★★★ Maverick ★★★★ RnR Magazine