Fiona Campbell: Convener
Fiona has been involved in the traditional and voluntary arts for a number of years in Scotland and New Zealand (where she hails from). She is currently a freelancer working with a variety of organisations on various tasks such as project management, marketing, policy work, fundraising and training.
Previously, Fiona managed the Scotland team of Voluntary Arts for eleven years, before becoming the Development Manager for the organisation – covering the UK and Republic of Ireland. She has been the Press and Marketing Officer for the National Association of Youth Orchestras (NAYO) and her previous post was as Project Administrator for Scottish Education & Action for Development. She has completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Cultural Policy & Management.
Fiona is also the Edinburgh & Lothians Branch Treasurer – particularly working to organise the annual Northern Streams Festival (bringing Scottish and Nordic music, song, dance and storytelling together). She is on the board of the Traditions of Dance Forum of Scotland (TDFS), Neo Productions and the Scottish Fiddle Festival. Fiona teaches Scottish traditional dance – particularly Scottish hard shoe Stepdance, is a member of two Irish dancing groups and has performed at folk dance festivals in Slovenia, Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain and the USA. She has also performed in and produced many musical theatre productions.
Kay Thomson: Treasurer
Kay can’t remember a time when she didn’t sing, and enjoys most genres of music. Her greatest love however is the songs of Scotland and Ireland, particularly the ballads and given minimal encouragement will give you the full twelve minutes of her version of ‘Tam Lin’. She feels that traditional music is at the heart of Scotland’s culture and should be supported at grassroots level to enable all to take part.
Born and brought up in Ayr, she joined Ayr Academy Folk Club and later became a regular floor singer at Ayr Folk Club. Moving to Edinburgh to attend university, she soon became involved in the busy folk scene in pubs and clubs, including Sandy Bells, the St Vincent Bar, White Hart and Royal Oak. A regular floor singer at Edinburgh Folk Club, she became one of the committee and occasional compère. At this time she devised her one-woman show ‘Ye Jacobites by Name’, which has been seen in a wide range of places including the Edinburgh Folk Festival, for two years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (in the Crown Folk Club), and for one Ormskirk Day of Folk in Lancashire.
After many happy years in Edinburgh, she moved to Kilsyth and for several years attended the Star Folk Club in Glasgow and became a regular floor singer, occasional compère and occasional sound engineer – with particular memories of a St Patrick’s Night concert as sound engineer for Stramash and a group of Irish Dancers dancing hard-shoe. She has worked as Project Co-ordinator at Kirkie Kids Out of School Care, as Centre Manager and Development Officer for Croy Miners’ Welfare Charitable Society, National Director with the TMSA, project worker for Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire and currently working in customer service. She is currently the Treasurer of the Traditional Music Forum and Chairman of Kilsyth Town Twinning Association, twinned with Meulan near Paris. She is delighted to be a director of the TMSA.
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. A competitor in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Iona embraces the repertoire of her native North East throughout the UK and Europe. In 2016 “East”, a debut 6-track EP was received with great acclaim. She has since released an album Away from My Window and another EP Dark Turn of Mind and won the ‘Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year’ category at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2018.
Iona is studying BMus (Hons) in Traditional Music at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is working towards her FLCM in Traditional Voice. With her band, Iona has performed extensively at festivals such as Celtic Connections and Folkest International Folk Festival in Italy. In 2017, she appeared at folk clubs and festivals such as Sark Folk Festival, Orkney Folk Festival, Stonehaven Folk Festival and Keith Festival as well as a busy touring schedule taking part in TMSA Young Trad Tour for that year.
Growing up within the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) movement, Iona is a fine exponent of Doric poetry. Singing at numerous national competitions, she has won a number of titles such as Best Female Singer both at Aberdeen TMSA 2016 and Buchan Heritage Society. Iona’s sensitivity for ballads is what led her to be awarded 100/100 marks for Bonny Udny at The Buchan Heritage Society 2016.
Michael has always had a passionate interest in the intangible heritage of Scotland – the cultural characteristics that make us Scottish. These stem from, and complement, our natural and built heritage and embrace the arts and crafts in general but particularly folk tales, song, music and dance.
For many years, Michael ran one of the UK’s highly-regarded heritage interpretation consultancies, helping visitors to understand the significance – in whatever manifestation – of places deemed of high heritage value. He also wrote many creative scripts for places of interest.
In recent years, he has worked to promote the seminal role of folk song in helping people to understand our own, and others’, heritage. Interpretation (in this context) is another form of storytelling – one of the most effective media of communication. He worked with Robyn Stapleton, the distinguished traditional singer, in addressing conferences on folk song’s part in telling the story of Scotland.
Michael’s career has included working in a public reference library, bookselling, broadcasting, letterpress printing, tourism information management and public relations, always with the intent of widening audience’s awareness and appreciation. He is now a wordsmith, a craft akin to that of the drystone dyker, assembling words to match the need of the moment.
Alanna Cole-Baker – Admin & Marketing Assistant
With a background in graphic design, Alanna first joined the TMSA as a Community Jobs Scotland intern in 2017 and now works part-time as an administrator and marketing assistant.
Dr Aly Bain MBE
Aly Bain is is considered one of the finest fiddlers in the Scottish tradition. Born in Lerwick, Shetland Aly began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. In his early twenties, Aly headed to mainland Scotland. His dramatic playing, with great tone and technical ability brought early recognition as an outstanding musician of the folk music. He has worked on several international television series, regularly collaborates with prominent musicians from across the globe, and occasionally records as a solo
Aly has received many honours for his services to music, including four Doctorates and an M.B.E., and numerous Honorary Citizenships in the USA. He continues to be an ambassador for Scotland abroad and a powerful advocate for traditional music. His teaming up, star collision, with brilliant accordionist/composer Phil Cunningham has added yet another dimension of appreciation for audiences everywhere. They have toured and recorded together since 1988 and to date they have recorded four albums, released on Aly’s own record label Whirlie Records.
Dr Margaret Bennett Ph.D
Margaret Bennett has sung at folk festivals and concerts world-wide and, as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Scottish Folklore, she features in several films, TV documentaries and on radio. Margaret has post-graduate MA in Folklore, a Ph.D in Ethnology, an Honorary Doctor of Music from the RSAMD and an Honorary Professorship of the Royal Scottish Academy. She lectures part time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Margaret has featured on over 10 albums.
Scottish folklorist Hamish Henderson writes: “She is a folksinger of great sensitivity and versatility, and is undoubtedly one of the major figures of the modern Scottish Revival. There can be few scholars on either side of the Atlantic who succeed in combining such a wide range of skills as Margaret Bennett. Margaret embodies all that is best of the spirit of Scotland.”
Dr Phil Cunningham OBE
Widely regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative accordion players of the times, Phil Cunningham has taken this instrument from strength to strength, setting the standards by which many young players fix their sights today.
The accordion being only one of the strings to his bow…multi instrumentalist Cunningham works extensively in the television and film world as a composer, music director and presenter, He is much
sought after as a record producer and he manages to juggle all of these diverse commitments to enable him to continue touring with long time musical partner and friend Aly Bain. Phil was awarded the MBE in 2002 for services to Scottish Music and was voted Best Instrumentalist in the inaugural Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2003.
Dr Barbara Dickson OBE
Dickson earned her initial reputation during the 60s as part of Scotland’s flourishing folk scene. An accomplished singer, she has tackled traditional and contemporary material and enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Archie Fisher.
Her career changed course after meeting Willy Russell who cast her in his award winning musical ‘John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert’. Barbara has also appeared in the musicals ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ and recorded songs from ‘Evita’ and ‘Chess’.
Barbara has had roles in TV shows including ‘Taggart’, ‘Band of Gold’ and ‘The Missing Postman’. Acclaimed writer and director Chris Bond created a stage show for Dickson in 1996 called ‘The Seven Ages of Woman’ which won her the Liverpool Echo Actress of the Year Award. It premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse and toured extensively throughout1997 and 1998.
As a multi-million selling recording artist with an equally impressive Olivier award- winning acting career Barbara has firmly established herself as one of the most versatile performers in the UK. 2018 saw her celebrating 50 years as a professional musician.
Archie Fisher MBE
Archie Fisher was born in Glasgow into a large singing family. After moving to Edinburgh in 1960 and appearing regularly at folk clubs such as The How, his first album –‘Far Over the Forth’ – was released in 1962. In 1969 he teamed up with Barbara Dickson, who went on to feature on several of his albums.
He has become an internationally-known singersongwriter, recognised as one of the most influential folk artists of his time and has enjoyed a parallel career as a broadcaster, presenting concerts, interviews, live studio sessions, review panels, features, and the latest folk music recordings to his listeners when he worked on his BBC Radio Scotland programme “Travelling Folk”.
Dr Sheena Wellington (Honorary Doctor of Music 2007 ; Hon Degree St Andrews 2000; Hon Degree
University of Dundee)
One of Scotland’s leading traditional singers, Sheena was born in Dundee into a family of singers and factory weavers. Her repertoire covers everything from Burns to ballads to the best of contemporary songwriting, drawing from the rich Scottish tradition passed from musician to musician through the ages.
A passionate and articulate advocate for traditional music, she has played a leading role in the fight for recognition, status and improved funding for Scotland’s traditional arts.
“..she can lay fair claim to being chiefly responsible for the seriousness with which her branch of the arts is now taken …” The Herald (Glasgow)
“….. the most moving moment of all”- (The Times, London).
“…. a moment to open the muscles of the heart…….” (The Scotsman, Edinburgh).