An Interview With Iona Fyfe


Hello Iona, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Huntly in Aberdeenshire. I moved to Glasgow when I was 17 to study Traditional Music at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I’ve been living in Glasgow for two years now.

When did you first realise you were musical?
Apparently when I was infantile, I would press keys on my uncles piano and the family knew I’d be musical.

When did you first realise you could sing?
I actually was a very “backgrounded” singer until I was around 12. I’d always be in the background of choirs and such like. It was folksong and ballad competitions which brought out my confidence. It was quite a natural progression.

What for you makes a good song?
What makes a good song… Well, ballads ought to be told in an economic fashion. But to me, I think the melody makes the song. The melody really makes a song.

What is it about the Scottish ballad tradition that makes you tick?
I think the ballad tradition makes me tick because all of the messages and stories of the ballads are still more than relevant today; whether that be in a social or political or domestic context.

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Iona & her band

What does Iona Fyfe like to do when she’s not being all musical?
Iona Fyfe used to rock climb, swim and gym, but hypermobility syndrome means she just shops now.

You won Best Female Singer at Aberdeen TMSA 2016. Can you tell us about the experience?
I grew up within the competitive ballad tradition and was often adjudicated by some of the finest traditional singers of Scotland. I learned in a very specific style representative of the North East and each year there are several competitions within the year. They are held yearly and it offers a chance to re-connect with the rawest form of traditional song.

What are the secrets to modernizing the old folk classics?
The secrets to modernizing the old folk classics? Learn the song in a way which would be accepted within the competitive ballad idiom, then innovate upon it and make it your own. At least then, you’ll know what you’re changing, how you’re changing it, this is because you’ll know it in its rawest form and can then build on that.

Can you tell us about your Edinburgh performances : where & when & what?

I shall be playing an intimate performance of Songs of the North East at the Acoustic Music Centre on the 18th of August. Doors will open at 21:30 for a 22:00 start.  Held in the Ukranian Community Centre, tickets will cost £8 for adults with concession tickets costing £6/5. Tickets are available online or on the door. Do bring along your voices and join me in rhyme. Tickets available here:
Brown Paper Tickets:
Edinburgh Fringe Box Office:

What will Iona Fyfe be doing for the rest of 2017?

I will be on tour for the rest of 2017, whilst recording my debut album which is set to be released early 2018. I go back to university in October too! Here are my tour dates:

5/8 Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
18/8 Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Acoustic Music Centre
19/8 Innerleithen Music Festival with Nomad Beat
7/9 Linlithgow Folk Festival
10/9 Best Of The West Festival – Inveraray Castle
13/9 Edinburgh Folk Club  
16/9 Naklo Music Festival, Poland
23/9 Wauchope Hall Yetholm
10/10 Leith Folk Club
31/10 Star Folk Club, Glasgow
8/11 Aberdeen Folk Club
9/11 Folk at the Salmon Bothy
10/11 Hootananny Inverness
18/11 Milngavie FolkClub
20/11 The Burns Club of London (Koshka Duff/Carol Anderson)
14/12 Loughton Folk Club
15/12 The Big Comfy Bookshop,

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