Julie Fowlis

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Julie Fowlis
Fowlis on stage at Analog, Ringsend Dublin, July 2008
Background information
Born 1979
Origin North Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Instruments Vocals, whistle, Great Highland bagpipe, Scottish smallpipes, flute, oboe, cor anglais, accordion, melodeon
Years active 2005–present
  • Machair Records
  • Shoeshine Records
  • Macmeanmna
Associated acts Dòchas
Website Official site

Julie Fowlis (born 1979) is a Scottish folk singer and multi-instrumentalist who sings primarily in Scottish Gaelic.[1]


Early life[edit]

Fowlis grew up on North Uist, an island in the Outer Hebrides, in a Gaelic-speaking community. Her mother was a Gaelic-speaking islander from a family of fishermen and crofters, while her father was originally from Pitlochry on mainland Scotland. Her parents ran a hotel for many years on North Uist. She moved with her parents to Ross-shire on the mainland when she was 15 years old after her father took a new job. The family lived in Strathpeffer and Fowlis finished her secondary education at Dingwall Academy.[2][3] [4] She then attended the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and studied the oboe and the English horn, earning a B.A. in Applied Music in 2000. After university Fowlis attended the Gaelic-language college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye to improve her Gaelic and formally study traditional Scottish music. Following that she returned to Ross-shire, taking a job with the organization Fèis Rois in Dingwall as music development officer between 2001 and 2004.[2][5] [6]

Musical career[edit]

She has been involved in singing, piping and dancing since she was a child.[1][2] She is a member of the Scottish sextet, Dòchas,[7] who were voted winners of Best Newcomer award at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2004, where Fowlis herself was nominated for the Best Gaelic Singer award. In 2005, Fowlis released her first solo album Mar a Tha Mo Chridhe (As My Heart Is). The album was produced by Iain MacDonald and Fowlis and instantly gained her worldwide acclaim. It was the busiest year until then in her career, with the release of a new album with Dòchas as well. Fowlis has travelled worldwide with the group and as a solo artist with her own live band.

Her second solo album Cuilidh was released in March 2007, becoming a worldwide top-seller in the Traditional and World Music charts.[8][9] Her album is a collection of songs from her native North Uist home. Her husband, Éamon Doorley plays bouzouki on the album and is a member of Irish traditional group Danú.

Fowlis performing live, 2007

Fowlis won the Horizon award at the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards,[7] won Folk Singer of The Year at the 2008 awards[2] and was nominated for the Folk Singer of the Year award at the 2007 awards.[10] She appeared on Later With Jools Holland on BBC Two on May 25, 2007, and performed Hùg air Bhonaid Mhòir on the show. Notable fans of Fowlis include Björk, Ricky Gervais and Radiohead's Phil Selway.[7]

In 2008, Julie recorded an album with long-time friends and collaborators Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Ross Martin and husband Éamonn Doorley. The album, entitled 'Dual' was released in October 2008, under Fowlis' 'Machair Records'. Fowlis also toured extensively around Scotland, Ireland, central Europe and America and launched both her solo albums while on tour. Fowlis recorded a version of the Beatles' 'Blackbird' for Mojo Magazine to celebrate the anniversary of The Beatles' 'The White Album'. The song, performed in Scottish Gaelic was released as a download single from Fowlis' own website in October 2008.

On 24 April 2009 through her online mailing list, Fowlis announced that she would begin recording her third studio album in May and that she would preview tracks from the project on her May 2009 tour of England. On 10 August 2009, she announced the album's title, Uam' (Scottish Gaelic for 'From Me'). In Europe the album was subsequently released 26 October the same year.

In 2012, Fowlis contributed to the Pixar film Brave with the songs "Touch the Sky" and "Into the Open Air", sung in the off-screen musical thoughts of the lead character Merida.[11]

Broadcasting career[edit]

In 2008, following guest spots on the BBC Radio Scotland's flagship traditional music programme Travelling Folk and the world music show Global Gathering, Julie started presenting a regular Thursday night Folk music programme, Fowlis and Folk[12] and is a regular presenter on BBC Alba. She co-presented the 2012 Radio 2 Folk Awards with Mike Harding.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Julie lives in Scotland with husband Éamon Doorley, a member of Irish traditional group Danú. They have two daughters, Éabha (b. 2010) and Niamh (b. 2012). Danú is the band of which Muireann Nic Amhlaoidh, Fowlis's friend and collaborator, is lead singer.


Solo recordings[edit]



With others[edit]


With Brolum[edit]

  • 7:11 (2000)

With Dòchas[edit]

  • Dòchas (2002)
  • An Darna Umhail (2005)
  • TBC (2009)

Guest roles and other recordings[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b Long, Chris (2007-04-05). "Julie Fowlis, Cuilidh". Folk and Country Review. BBC. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d Denselow, Robin (August 1, 2008). "Going back to her roots". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Julie Fowlis". Thistle and Shamrock. NPR. 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  4. ^ "Julie Fowlis’ Homecoming". Northings. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  5. ^ "Success is music to Strathclyde's ears". press reliease. University of Strathclyde. 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  6. ^ "Gaelic organisation Feis Rois marks 25th anniversary with a bang". STV. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  7. ^ a b c Irwin, Colin. "Julie Fowlis > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  8. ^ Published on Sunday 25 February 2007 00:06 (2007-02-25). "A Gael force in any language - Arts - Scotsman.com". Scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  9. ^ "Julie’s new digital single now available! van Julie Fowlis op Myspace". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  10. ^ "Radio 2 – Events – Folk Awards 2007". BBC. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  11. ^ Bryko (May 1, 2012). "First Details on 'Brave' Soundtrack! (UPDATE)". Upcoming Pixar. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Julie Fowlis: Presenter Page". BBC Radio Scotland. 
  13. ^ "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012". BBC Radio 2. 8 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "Mar a Tha Mo Chridhe – Lyrics". Celticlyricscorner.net. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  15. ^ "Cuilidh – lyrics". Juliefowlis.com. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 

External links[edit]