FARA brings together four emerging musicians at the forefront of today’s young Scottish folk scene — Jennifer Austin, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price’s three fiddles and a piano — to produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing among the music of Orkney.
Having been friends since early childhood, the young women grew up under the musical guidance of Douglas Montgomery (The Chair, Saltfishforty) with the three East Mainlanders of the band in fiddle group Hadhirgaan at Kirkwall Grammar School, and Kristan, a West Mainlander, in Jenny Keldie’s Shoramere at Stromness Academy. The four of them then went on to study south, and hold degrees from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Strathclyde University, The Royal Northern College of Music and The Royal Academy of Music. They have all since established themselves in the Scottish music scene winning prizes along the way which include the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, The Deutsche Bank Award in Performance and Composition, and the Danny Kyle Award.
The four contrasting personalities and individual musical voices in Fara, make for a colourful melting pot of ideas during arranging sessions – each member brings a different musical pallet to the table. But the strong Orkney fiddle tradition that they all grew up with is the glue that binds them together, being at the heart of all of their musical characters.
With vibrant arrangements full of rich harmonies, energetic fiddle playing and driving piano, Fara’s music is an exciting experience. With a mixture of self-penned and traditional Orkney tunes as well as stunning vocals, the young women’s combined musical experiences and friendships produce an exciting and individual sound.
‘For me Fara were THE highlight of the 2014 Orkney Folk Festival. I saw every one of their gigs and they were exceptional. Their on-stage banter and musicianship held every audience spellbound. I was thrilled to see them again at this year’s Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and there is an EP too. Sickeningly talented and mad as brushes. A potent combination. A real delight for any festival’
‘These girls will go far. They sing and play like they mean it’
Douglas Montgomery, Saltfishforty, The Chair
‘ The Northern Isles and indeed Scotland now have a new fiddle supergroup but this time, with an all female line up. I suspect that stages from near and far will be seeing and hearing a lot from these lasses over the coming months’
Mhari Pottinger, Shetland Folk Festival