Julie Fowlis became Gaelic ambassador

Her music is a simple mix of old songs in new settings. Julie claims some of her material dates back six or seven hundred years. Back then, those tunes would’ve been sung unaccompanied – but she delivers them now with traditional instruments and famous friends like Eddie Reader and Sharon Shannon. ‘We’ve met and worked with some fantastic musicians over the years,’ she explained, ‘and made wonderful friends through the music.’ But Julie’s own story started way off the beaten track, ‘with a very traditional background’. She came from the Hebrides, where one side of the family all spoke Gàidhlig: “I always sang in Gàidhlig from a very young age’…So what draws the English-speaking audiences? Even Ricky Gervais is counted among her fans. ‘There’s something in the way it sounds because of its age,’ Julie explained, ‘and it’s a very honest, very true sort of sound. It’s something that comes from within and is part of a culture that’s very ancient.’