The Outside Track

The Outside Track

 Edinburgh, Scotland, GBR

"Group of the Year 2012" Live Ireland Awards

A stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy, The Outside Track's marriage of Canadian, Scottish and Irish music and song has been rapturously received around the world. Classy musicianship combined with winning joie de vivre!


Winners of the Live Ireland "Group of the Year" 2012, The Outside Track's marriage of Canadian, Scottish and Irish music and song has been rapturously received around the world. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Vancouver, its five members are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on its foundation. Using fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, step-dance and vocals these five virtuosos blend boundless energy with unmistakable joie de vivre.

The line up comprises Norah Rendell (Canadian Traditional Singer of the Year nominee), Mairi Rankin (Beolach), Ailie Robertson (Live Ireland Winner, BBC Young Trad Finalist), Fiona Black (BBC Fame Academy Winner), and Cillian O'Dalaigh.

Each player within The Outside Track is a master of their chosen instrument with the band stacking up an impressive amount of international awards. This amount of talent alone would be enough to recommend the band but in this case the end result is so much greater than the sum of the parts.

The band have enjoyed 5 years of extensive touring in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA, including appearances at Celtic Connections, Celtic Colours, Goderich, Mission, Memoire et Racines, Sidmouth, and Whitby Festivals.

Norah Rendell
The Stornoway Gazette wrote, “Her singing left me goose-pimpled all over – a sure sign of a gutsy, emotional delivery laced with meaning and pathos”. Nominated as Traditional Singer of the Year for the Canadian Folk Music Awards 2008, Norah not only sings, but also plays flute and whistle “with a degree of style and sensitivity envied by many” says Tom Carroll of Folkwords.

Norah’s deep interest in traditional and historical music began as a professional recorder player. Through many twists and turns (and pubs), her music took a sharp turn toward folk music in her early twenties when she discovered the rich oral tradition of Ireland, in Vancouver of all places. Soon after, 5-piece Canadian roots band, Cleia and Celtic trio, The Maenads were formed. In 2003, Norah co-founded the all-female a cappella group, the No Shit Shirleys through her involvement in the Universal Gospel Choir. All three groups toured regionally in British Columbia and Alberta including feature performances at the Vancouver Folk Festival, Mission Folk Festival and the Rogue Folk Club.

During this time, Norah also earned a reputation for being skilled in creating rich and unexpected vocal harmonies on the spot and has been hired by many singer-songwriters as a back-up singer live and in the studio including Dale Rasmussen, Tim Readman, Amy Stephens, Dana Irving and Massey 44.

In 2005, Norah was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for Performing Arts to travel to Ireland to study traditional flute and singing. She has an MA in Irish traditional music from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance where she was a lecturer in music theory, ear training, voice and flute. Norah has given guest lectures and workshops at University College Cork in the Irish song tradition.

In addition to her work with The Outside Track, Norah currently performs with Paddy O’Brien’s Doon Ceili Band, the Two Tap Trio, Brian Miller. Norah is also the Education Director at the Center for Irish Music in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Mairi Rankin
Mairi joined the band at the beginning of the Canadian tour in 2009, Mairi is now a fully committed full-time band-member. One of the hugely influential Rankin Family - legends on the Canadian music scene - she plays fiddle, sings and also step-dances up a storm. Born in Mabou, Nova Scotia, Mairi has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island.

She has developed her own unique style by being immersed in such a rich musical culture. She has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist, a sideman and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach.

She has performed with the Rankin Sisters, Unusual Suspects and Bruce Guthro to name a few. She has appeared on the television broadcasts of DRUM!, the East Coast Music Awards, Rita MacNeil’s Christmas special and MNE’s Togaidh Sinn Fonn in Scotland. Her festival credits internationally include Celtic Connections, Chicago Celtic Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, BLAS, Tonder Festival. In Canada she has performed at all the major folk and Celtic festivals including Winnipeg Folk Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival, Dawson City Folk Festival and the internationally renowned Celtic Colours Festival.

She has taught her folk arts at Universities, schools, festivals and workshops. Some of these include Newcastle University, England; Augusta Heritage Festival, West Virginia; Scottish Arts School, Ohio; Buddy MacMaster School of Fiddling, Cape Breton; Montpelier Fiddle Camp, Vermont. Mairi has recorded one solo album, two CDs with Beolach and has been featured on numerous compilations and recordi


The Outside Track - The Outside Track, Bedspring records 2007
Curious Things Given Wings - The Outside Track, Lorimer records/Mad River records. 2010
Flash Company - The Outside Track, Lorimer records 2012

Set List

2 x 45 minute sets. Half songs, half instrumentals.
shorter festival sets