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Heelster Gowdy / Bio

Heelster Gowdy:

Traditional jigs & reels, songs and ballads with contemporary accompaniment that remains tasteful and above all, musical.

Featuring the talented Borders vocalist Fiona Wilson, Fife‘s fiddling sensation Karen Hannah and stalwart of the Celtic scene, Bob Turner on Piano and accordion.

Fiona Wilson is one of Scotland’s best kept artistic secrets. Her prolific song writing and vocal prowess have ensured she is held in high regard with the many artists she has performed, broadcast and recorded with throughout the past 15 years.

Although Fiona has largely kept a less than public profile, she is always in great demand in the studios where her natural ability, and in particular, her love and talent for harmony are put to great use.

From the R.S.A.M.D. to the far East, Fiona has studied and immersed herself in learning and appreciating music, song and culture from around the globe.

Extremely interested in traditional Scottish ballads, and hailing from the Borders, Fiona developed a passion for Border Ballads in particular. She has always felt a deep connection with the Borders landscape, and considers that growing up in that part of the world was a real privilege.

“Exploring the ballads enhanced my experience of Borders and Scottish culture and history. By carrying forth the ballads, feels as if I’m giving something back to this beautiful part of the world“.

Bob Turner has over 30 years experience in the music business, is recognised and acknowledged for his unrelenting professionalism and commitment to all projects large and small.

He has a vast and varied experience that ensures he is always in demand both at home and abroad. Broadcasting live on national radio and television, and appearing on many recordings, he has toured extensively performing as a multi-instrumentalist and working as producer / arranger and composer. Consequently he is always in great demand and has performed with artists such as Bruce MacGregor, Iron Horse, Gavin Marwick, Rory Campbell, Jonny Hardie, Aidan O’ Rourke, Pete Clark, Chris Stout, John Saich, Simon Thoumire, Marianne Campbell, Claire McLaughlin, Charlie McKerron, Christine Hanson, Marcus Ford and Jim Mullen to name but a few.

Being versatile has been an essential part of Bob’s success. He has also performed on stage in various theatre performances, one of the most unusual and demanding of which found him playing the part of ‘L’Accordioniste’ in the acclaimed production of ‘Piaf’. Switching genres again, he also performed in Maria Tecce’s celebrated and critically acclaimed production of ‘Viva’ with award winning jazz guitarist Malcolm MacFarlane and bassist Andy Mitchell.

Bob is very keen to help the up and coming artists of the future and has taught and encouraged many to follow in his footsteps. He has been involved with the ‘BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician Of The Year Contest’ as guest speaker and accompanist. He also has his own studio and is always working on new projects as a musician, composer/arranger and producer.

Karen Hannah has enthralled audiences all over the globe with her dynamic and expressive playing. She is equally at home performing in small intimate acoustic settings, to large auditoriums with full band line-ups.

Karen has performed for an eclectic range of events such as the launch of the National Cultural Strategy, Fife Tourist Board showcases, Celtic Connections and a whole host of private and corporate events and international festivals.

As a musical ambassador she has represented Scotland throughout countries such as: New Zealand, Ireland, Romania, Sardinia, Germany, Poland, South Korea, Spain, France, Denmark and Belgium. Forging new musical and artistic relations and furthering Scotlands image as the exciting and forward-looking country that it is and rich in traditional culture.

In 2002 Karen received a Scottish Arts Council Training Bursary Award to shadow Fife Councils Traditional Arts Officer. This was the start of her involvement in Educational projects in both the formal and informal sectors, with artists such as Sheena Wellington, Maureen Jelks , Neil Paterson and Helen Forbes and has focused on giving children and young adults confidence in their Scots language and culture.

Karen also specialises in working with children with Special Needs after many years of working closely with a school in Dundee.

Through YMI funding Karen has been going into ‘Bookbug Sessions’ in libraries to introduce live instrumental music to babies and toddlers, and recently completed a YMI project in primary schools in Dundee.

Karen is always in demand as a music tutor, and has taught at the Wighton Heritage Centre in Dundee for 6 years.

General Info

Band Members
Fiona Wilson, Bob Turner, Karen Hannah
Artist Name
Heelster Gowdy
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