Fiona J Mackenzie
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Fiona J Mackenzie

Dingwall, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE

Dingwall, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Folk Celtic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"BBC Scotland report of music industry 2007"

Things are looking up for the home-grown record industry. Ian Green, who heads up Greentrax, the most important of the Scottish folk independents, said that although high street retailers were suffering in their battle with the supermarkets, online and mail order had rescued niche markets. "It started to pick up by the summer," Green says, "Sales on Amazon went right up; the online sales outlets like MusicScotland. Since then we've been astonishingly busy." And what albums have been the most popular? "Well, Fiona Mackenzie's Christmas double album Duan Nollaig, and the album Just For Gordon, for Gordon Duncan.
Norman Chalmers, SOS Dec 07 - Norman Chalmers, Scotland on Sunday Dec 2007

"A Good Suit of Clothes"

Fiona J Mackenzie, A Good Suit Of Clothes (Greentrax Recordings, 2009)

A Good Suit Of Clothes is an absorbing recording, that primarily acts as a showcase for Gaelic songs of emigration, bringing together native Gaelic songs, alongside those written by the emigrants themselves in distant corners of the world such as Novia Scotia and Australia. The songs collected here are largely traditional, though a number of contemporary compositions sustain the echoes of the past.

It is testament to the varied experience of producer, Irvine Duguid, that he has crafted the most exquisite arrangements, remaining faithful to the spirit of the material, whilst gracing them with an overall sound that manages to be subtle, sumptuous and elegant. Fraser Fifield, Mary Ann Kennedy and Anna Massie are amongst the impressive cast of musicians who perform on the album, lending strong traditional credentials, yet ensuring there are subtle contemporary nuances that will appeal beyond the traditional genre boundaries. The final touch of beauty is provided by the chaste and lucid vocals of Fiona Mackenzie, whose singing demands your immediate attention, demonstrating a manifest affinity to the songs that allows her to tease out the gamut of sentiments that permeate the material.

A Good Suit Of Clothes is by no means a one-sided story and the songs presented here yield stories of hope, desperation and longing. An interesting perspective considered on a number of occasions is the cultural dislocation suffered by emigrants, who found that their new life was compromising the future of their language and culture. In "A' Choille Ghruamach" (The Gloomy Forest) the Tiree Bard, John MacLean, fears for the loss of his Gaelic and finds loneliness in the fact that nobody asks him to sing his music.

The common woes of emigration obviously feature highly, with songs that speak of pining for home and lost loved ones. One of the most heartbreaking songs is "Tha Thu Beò Nam Anamsa" (You Are alive In My Soul), a contemporary song telling the story of an elderly lady recalling the emigration of her childhood sweetheart. Her sweetheart was never to return as he had promised, and the lady never married. These stories of sadness are balanced by "Dèan Cadalan Sàmhach" (Sleep Quietly), a lullaby where a mother promises her baby that a better life awaits them in America, or on " 'Illean Bithibh Sunndach" (Boys Be Happy), a song that buoys the spirits of those departing for the new world.

"Tilleadh an Eilthirich" (Return of the Wanderer) brings the subject full circle, being written in 1975 by Archie Mackenzie of Halifax, whose forefathers had emigrated from Barra. Mackenzie writes with enthusiasm for his first journey to Barra and talks of the emigrants' legacy that lives on in the new world, where their ancestors still proudly uphold the language and music. Fiona is joined here by Cathy Ann MacPhee and their interpretation is intertwined with archive recordings of Mackenzie himself, marking a fitting close to the album.

As a collection of music alone, A Good Suit Of Clothes makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen, with exquisite arrangements and the absolute delight of Fiona Mackenzie's singing. Those willing to dig a bit deeper will uncover an interesting and heartfelt tribute to Gaelic emigrants and gain some understanding of the personal and cultural sacrifices involved, at a time when emigration was more often than not, a permanent, one-way journey. A Good Suit Of Clothes serves to maintain the memory of these personal journeys.

Visit Fiona's website here!

Visit Fiona's MySpace page here!

Currently listening:
Deagh Dheis Aodaich: a Good Suit of Clothes - Songs of the Emigrant Gael
By Fiona Mackenzie
Release date: 2009-07-06

- Myspace- Mike Wilson

"Celtic Connection Dec 07"

Fiona Mackenzie is one of the stellar voices of the Gaelic language in Scotland. In this 2 CD set, she has set down many traditional Scottish hymns in Gaelic as well as more traditional hymns. Beginning with “Leanabh an Aigh” (The Blessed Infant) with the tune that most would recognize as “Morning has Broken” but has always been credited as an old Gaelic melody. Fiona provides great liner notes as to the origin of the songs and even covers Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluiah”. The second CD is for youngsters of all ages and sets out a lot of familiar carols such as “Away in a Manger” in Gaelic but also has lots of other fun songs such as “Preasantan” (Presents) and “Bodach na Nollaig” (Father Christmas). For those who love the Gaelic language and want to have a really, truly Scottish Christmas sound experience, you won’t find better than this. If you want to start the kids singing Gaelic—get them started on CD two!

- Cindy Reich

"Orain nan Rosach"

It’s a soothing and lyrical collection that demonstrates the beauty of the songs of Ross-shire, and it is beautifully sung (the vocal arrangements are both lovely and generous in the way they allow each singer’s vocal strengths to be appreciated). The tone of the recording is warm and intimate, and Fiona has chosen her material well, including unaccompanied and Gaelic choral harmony songs. Other highlights include tales of hunting, love, and loss, including the gorgeous, unaccompanied ‘Ailean Dubh à Lòchaidh’ and ‘Ribhinn a’Chuil Bhàin’ where the voices of Fiona, Julie and Katie are joined by a lone, plaintive fiddle.
This album is well worth seeking out for the lovely song arrangements, and the opportunity to hear little-known songs that have such deliciously lyrical tunes! - D Koritsas, Living Tradition Magazine

"Bill Margeson"

The iconic Greentrax label out of Scotland continues to produce incredible music, as they seem to have the gift of finding the very best Scottish singers and musicians, and getting their projects done on a timely basis. The Scottish stream has turned into a river of excellence, so we were pretty sure we would love the brand new double Christmas album , Duan Nollaig by Fiona Mackenzie. We were right. Now, let's take a closer listen to all 35 beautiful songs. They are all sung in Scots Gaelic. Don't stop reading. We don't understand a word of Gaelic, or Scots Gaelic, outside of a couple insulting or defamatory curses. No matter. First, Fiona's voice is so beautiful and warm; the whole album makes you feel just like Christmas wherever you are, as well as Fiona's native Morayshire in Scotland. The voice is pure. No gimmicks. Just a gorgeous singer, offering her heart through her vocal cords. Our favourite of the whole banquet is Welcome, Welcome The Only Son Of God. You'll find your own. There is a whole list of really glorious musicians and singers joining her on this outing. Put this on in the background for the party. Everybody will get real Christmas glowy and not now why. There will be no family fights. Peace and love will abound. True. This album sounds brilliant. It throws off Christmas blessings, and more importantly, something else. It feels right. And, after all, that is what the whole season is supposed to be about. What a wonderful album! - Live Ireland Nov 07

"Fiona Mackenzie"

"Mackenzie has a gorgeous, clear and haunting voice that will bring tears to your eyes" - Barry Hammond ( Penguin Eggs)

"Orain nan Rosach"

"A splendid evocation of Gaelic music and an encouraging example of solid hope for the future of the language too"
- Scots Magazine May 06

"Fiona Mackenzie,"

“By anyone’s definition, a world-class performance by a world-class performer.”
- Ligonier News, Pennsylvania, Sept 06

"Duan Nollaig"

A Christmas album with a difference, and certainly an alternative to the ubiquitous Slade! - K Mathieson, Scotsman Dec 07

"Duan Nollaig a Winner!"

"Here's the answer to all that crass Christmas commercialism. This astonishingly eclectic double album by the Highland Council's Gaelic Song Fellow and former Mod medallist delves deeply into Gaeldom's religious song tradition. It also creates new ones all of its own.

Among the 35 songs, the famously beautiful Taladh Chriosda is here in heart-stopping vocal harmony, while Leonard Cohen's Halleluiah gets an apocalyptic, wall-of-sound, contemporary arrangement of which Runrig would be proud."

Scotland on Sunday (11 November 2007 - Scotland on Sunday Nov 2007


'Archipelago' - 2012. Songs of the Scottish Islands in Scots & Gaelic. On the Greentrax label.

'A Good Suit of Clothes' - Deagh Dheis Aodaich, released 29/06/09 Gaelic Emigrant songs, old & new. In contemporary style.

Astair - 2000- trad unaccompanied Gaelic song

2006- Orain nan Rosach - Songs of the Ross-shire Folk

2007 - Duan Nollaig, the worlds first ever Gaelic Christmas album, on Greentrax.

2012- Kilmarnock Edition - "Pay It Forward"
Fiona has also appeared on several compilation albums, singing Scots and Gaelic songs .



Living in the Highlands of Scotland, Fiona is one of Scotlands best known Gaelic singers and teachers of Gaelic song. She is known for her haunting, pure, clear, bell like vocal tone and her technical mastery of the voice and it is no wonder that she won Gaeldom’s premier award for Gaelic Singing, The Gold Medal in 2005, the same year she won runner up in the International Song Contest at the Pan Celtic in Ireland, with a self penned song.
She has released 4 albums, - the latest being the ground breaking and unique 'Archipelago' released in 2012, Songs of the Scottish Islands in Scot & Gaelic, from North to South. This album was produced by Glasgow producer David Lyon with whom she now also performs in the lineup "Mackenzie & Lyon" together with well known singer songwriter Yvonne LYon. Their sets are a pure and beautiful representation of all things that are beautiful and inspirational about Scotlands music today- both traditional and contemporary.
Archieplago is Fiona's third album released on the Greentrax label. Good Suit of Clothes' was,releasedl in 2009 and her debut CD was Duan Nollaig the world's first ever Gaelic Christmas album.
Fiona has established herself also as a contemporary Gaelic singer-songwriter, being one of Burnsong 2009's winners. This proved to be a real breakthrough for Fiona as far as song writing was concerned, giving her 'permission' to write Gaelic songs in fresh and new styles . " I no longer feel pressurized to write songs in a particular way, just because they are in Gaelic". Out of this Burnsong initiative was formed the band 'Kilmarnock Edition' and Fiona has been performing extensively with them for the past year- the band has been returned from showcasing for Scotland,at Folk Alliance in Toronto. Their debut album "Pay It Forward" is gathering fan audiences wherever the material is played and the band ( 6 embers) are delighted with the response to their quirky blend of Scots, Gaelic, jazz, reggae and other world folky sounds.
Fiona is well known for her lecturing and teaching She broadcasts for TV shows regularly .She is also one of the (very) few Gaelic singers to have an entry on Wikipedia.

Fiona has recently joined forces with well known Glasgow singer songwriter, Yvonne Lyon, to form the acoustic trio "Mackenzie Lyon".

Fiona also sings in Scots - one of her Scots tracks,the Original version of the Classic Burns song Auld Lang Syne is featured here in her EPK.

Fiona is currently the Gaelic Associate Artist for the National Theatre of Sotland and is working on a ground breaking project, based on the world famous and largely unexplored Canna Archives- the collection of American folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw,.
Mailing address- 39 Chestnut Rd, Dingwall, Ross-shire. IV15 9UQ. Scotland.
+44781 8630616