Fara brings together four musicians at the forefront of today’s 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 childhood, the girls 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 girls 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 including – 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 idea for the band came after several appearances as “The Chairettes”, The Chair’s backing band. At one gig, the girls were put on stage to play a couple of sets on their own, and Bob Gibbon, The Chair’s Accordionist and Orkney Folk Festival director, suggested they form a new band. To the Chair’s disappointment they decided to loose the name, and Fara was born.
With vibrant arrangements full of rich harmonies, energetic fiddle playing and driving piano, Fara’s show is an exciting one. With a mixture of self-penned and traditional Orkney tunes as well as haunting songs, the girls’ 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