Catriona MacDonald

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Catriona Macdonald
GenresFolk music
Occupation(s)Musician, music teacher
Years active1983 - Present
LabelsPeerie Angel
Associated actsBlazin' Fiddles
String Sisters
The Unusual Suspects
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersDavid Macmillan (piano)
Conrad Ivitsky (double bass)
James MacIntosh (drums, percussion)

Catriona MacDonald is a musician and teacher from Shetland and is considered to be one of the world's leading traditional fiddle players.[1]


MacDonald started studying fiddle with Dr Tom Anderson MBE[2] in 1981 at age 11 (she considers herself to be a late starter[3]), was a founding member of Shetland's Young Heritage[4] and won the Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year competition in 1983.[5] In 1992 MacDonald won the BBC Radio Two Young Tradition Award and went on to study voice for four years at the Royal College of Music in London. After graduating she moved to the Borders area of Scotland to focus on her professional fiddle playing.[6]

MacDonald is an active teacher with a passion for sharing her knowledge of traditional fiddle techniques and vernacular.[7] She now teaches on the BMus Folk degree at Newcastle University[8] and has worked as a tutor on Scottish Music Degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and the Universities of Limerick and Stirling. Catriona regularly tutors at a variety of summer schools and residential courses including "Burwell Bash",[9] "Shetland Fiddle Frenzy",[10] "Folkworks"[11] and "Blazin' in Beauly" (Blazin' Fiddles' own summer school).[12]

As well as her own band, MacDonald plays with Scottish fiddle band Blazin' Fiddles, the female fiddle band String Sisters and folk big band The Unusual Suspects.


Solo albums[edit]

  • 2000 — Bold
  • 2007 — Over the Moon

Groups and collaborations[edit]

  • 1994 Opus Blue (with Ian Lowthian)
  • 1998 Hodden Grey Ian Bruce
  • 2001 A Shot at Glory soundtrack (with Mark Knopfler)
  • 2004 The Old Style (Blazin Fiddles)
  • 2005 Magnificent Seven (Blazin Fiddles)
  • 2005 Live in Scotland The Unusual Suspects
  • 2006 Strange But True Kathryn Tickell
  • 2007 Blazin' Fiddles Live (Blazin Fiddles)
  • 2007 Live - String Sisters
  • 2008 Stramash Colin Steele
  • 2010 Big Like This The Unusual Suspects
  • 2011 Thursday Night in the Caley (Blazin Fiddles)
  • 2013 Vamm (Vamm - Patsy Reid, Catriona Macdonald and Marit Fält)
  • 2017. Between Wind and Water (String Sisters)


1992 BBC Radio Two Young Tradition Award for Best Musician in Britain[citation needed]

Polls 2001 "Top 5 World Music Albums of the Year" fRoots Magazine 2001

"Top 10 Folk Albums of the Year 2000"

MOJO Magazine 2001 (Folk Album of the Month, April 2000)

MOJO Magazine 2001 Recognised artist "Album of the Year and Musician of the Year"

BBC2 Folk Awards 2001 (Included in the released compilation cd The Folk Awards on Topic records)

"Scottish Folk Album of the Year" CD NOW

Scottish Traditional Music Awards'

2004 Live Band (Blazin Fiddles)

2005 Album of the Year (Blazin Fiddles)


  1. ^ Larsen, Mary (1997-09-01). "Catriona MacDonald: Respecting Shetland's Fiddling Legacy". Fiddler Magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  2. ^ World Music: The Rough Guide By Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, Richard Trillo, Orla Duane, Vanessa Dowel, Published by Rough Guides, 1999 ISBN 1-85828-635-2, ISBN 978-1-85828-635-8
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2008-12-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Catriona Macdonald". Myspace. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Catriona Macdonald". Compass Records. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  6. ^ Smith, Chris (2000-04-17). "Catriona MacDonald, Jennifer & Hazel Wrigley, Debbie Scott". Mustrad. Musical Traditions Internet Magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  7. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. "Catriona MacDonald - Biography & History". All Music. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  8. ^ "Catriona Macdonald - Senior Lecturer". School of Arts and Cultures. University of Newcastle. 2013-06-27. Archived from the original on 2016-06-05. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  9. ^ "Burwell Bash - Traditional Music Summer School - Brian Finnegan - Jock Tyldesley - Tola Custy - Andy Cutting - Ed Boyd". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Catriona MacDonald, Jenny Keldie & Brian Cromarty, & Fiddle Frenzy Students". Mareel. Shetland Arts. 2014-08-09. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  11. ^ "Folkworks Adult Summer Schools 2012". Sage Gateshead. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  12. ^ "Blazin' In Beauly". Retrieved 26 May 2016.

External links[edit]