Julie Fowlis is a singer and multi instrumentalist from the Outer Hebrides of Scotland who has been described as a “revelation”. Her debut solo album was released in 2005 to critical acclaim – described as “excellent”, “fresh” and “outstanding” and has confirmed her one of “leading lights in a new generation of Gaelic singers”.
Julie grew up in North Uist, a small island in the Hebrides, in a Gaelic speaking community, and has been involved in singing, piping and dancing since she was a toot.
She is a member of the successful Scottish sextet, Dòchas, who were voted winners of “Best Newcomer Award” at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004, where Julie herself was nominated as Best Gaelic Singer. Having toured extensively, and after releasing two albums, Dòchas are widely considered as one of the most exciting and dynamic young bands in Scotland today. It was only in 2005 that Julie released her debut solo album, which immediately launched her music career into an exciting (and hectic!) new direction. Her good nature, natural charm and energy on the stage makes her a popular performer, and this is evident in her busy touring schedule, which included a prestigious Showcase concert at the Cambridge Folk Festival this year – Julie being the first ever Gaelic artist to perform at a Showcase slot.
Her eagerly awaited solo album, “mar a tha mo chridhe” or “as my heart is” was launched at the Celtic Connections Festival 2005, and includes performances from some of finest Scottish and Irish musicians around, including: Eamon Doorley, John Doyle, John McCusker, Ingrid Henderson, Allan Henderson, Kris Drever, Ross Martin, Martin O'Neill and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and the brave and talented Iain MacDonald, who co-produced the album with Julie. The album has received exceptional reviews.
"This is an outstanding album of traditional Gaelic song from one of the most exciting young Scottish musicians and among the finest acoustic albums I have heard. Julie Fowlis's voice is fresh and unfussy...her singing is always beautiful and she excels too on a range of instruments: whistles, cor anglais and small pipes. Uist's song tradition has found an inspired interpreter in Julie Fowlis."
- Andy Jurgis, THE LIVING TRADITION ISSUE 61 MARCH 2005
"...this excellent debut solo album confirms her status as one of the leading lights in the new generation of Gaelic singers...she has a lovely voice and her phrasing and accentuation of the melody lines is hugely expressive at any tempo."
- Kenny Mathieson, SCOTSMAN FRIDAY 28th JANUARY 2005
"The first solo CD from North Uist native Julie Fowlis...more than justifies all the feverish plaudits she's attracted since emerging as a vocalist with the band Dòchas....she imbues her skilfully varied selection of songs with a singular synthesis of freshness, depth, vitality and sinew."
- Sue Wilson, SUNDAY HERALD 13th FEBRUARY 2005
Before any of this, Julie was already quietly making a name for herself as soloist. In 2003, she was invited to be part of a special project “Gluaiseachd a’ Chuain Siar” which showcased singers such as Maighread and Triona Nic Dhómhnaill, Alyth McCormack, Mary Jane Lamond, Mary Smith and Julie Murphy. She was also selected as part of the Celtic Connections “Master and Apprentice” series, where she performed with Arthur Cormack. Julie's reputation as a singer was confirmed when she was named Winner of the prestigious Pan-Celtic Sean-Nos singing competition in 2004, which took place in Tralee, Ireland.
As well as appearing on numerous Gaelic Television Programmes such as Tacsi, Fàilte, An t-Urlar Ur, Air an Urlar, Ceòl, Ceòlraidh and Dè a-nis? Julie has also been involved in numerous musical commissions - three by Mark Sheridan, The Curve of the Earth (performed at Celtic Connections 2002 and the Festival Interceltique de Lorient 2002), The Evangelists, which has been performed three times since 2002 and When They Lay Bare, an Opera Ballad which was performed over three nights in the Tramway Theatre at Celtic Connections 2003. She was also involved in Maggie's MacInnes' Commission, A Woman's Song in 2004 and in the musical settings of Sunset Song and Cloud Howe by Wendy Wetherby in 2004 and 2005, She will also be involved in the third commission of this trilogy, Grey Granite in Celtic Connections 2006.
Aswell as Dòchas, Julie is honoured to have performed with some of the finest performers from Scotland, such as Iain MacDonald, John McCusker, Cliar, Daimh, Mary Smith, Mairi McInnis, Maggie McInnes and Maighread Stewart to name but a few, plus some of Ireland's greatest musicians - Maighread Ni Mhaonaigh (Altan), Karan Casey, Micheal McGoldrick, John Doyle, Mick MacAulay (Solas), Maighread & Triona Ni Dhomhnaill and last, but definItely not least, the mighty Danú :o)
Julie continues to perform with Dòchas, and is now also busy performing her solo material at Festivals and concerts both at home and abroad.