Fara Biography


Fara brings together four exceptional and respected young musicians at the forefront of today’s Scottish folk scene. Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price’s dynamic fiddles with Jennifer Austin’s driving piano, produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing surrounded by the music and traditions of Orkney.

Having been friends most of their lives, the girls grew up immersed in Orkney’s musical landscape. Musicians such as Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley along with many other local musicians and the Orkney Traditional Music Project instigated the girls’ love and enjoyment for Orkney’s music and traditions. Under the musical guidance of Douglas Montgomery (The Chair, Saltfishforty) with the three East Mainlanders of the band in a fiddle group ‘Hadhirgaan’ at Kirkwall Grammar School, and Kristan, a West Mainlander, in Jenny Kelday’s ‘Shoramere’ at Stromness Academy they started to perform regularly throughout the county at different functions and events.

The four girls went on to study in the UK mainland, and hold degrees from The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Strathclyde University. They have all since established themselves in the Scottish music scene winning prizes along the way which include the prestigious 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, along with others.

The idea for the band came after several guest appearances as ‘The Chairettes’, an occasional part of big band and Orkney institution, ‘The Chair’. At one gig, the girls were put on stage to play a couple of sets on their own, and Bob Gibbon, accordionist with The Chair and Orkney Folk Festival director, suggested they form a new band. To The Chair’s disappointment they decided to change the name, and Fara was born.

With vibrant and inventive arrangements full of rich harmonies, energetic fiddle playing and driving piano, Fara’s live show is an exciting one. With their mixture of self-penned and traditional tunes, as well as songs with lead vocals from Jeana Leslie and lush four-part harmony vocals, the girls combine musical experiences and friendship to produce an exciting and individual sound, ready to burst onto the folk music scene.

Fara reviews

“Fara is perhaps one of the most exciting developments in recent years for music from the northern isles. Showcasing fired up instrumental sets as well as the beautiful vocals of jeana leslie, they are testament to the strength of the traditional music development in orkney. The northern isles and indeed scotland now have a new fiddle supergroup but this time, with an all female lineup. I suspect that stages from near and far will be seeing and hearing a lot from these lasses over the coming months and years.” Mhari J Pottinger - Shetland Folk Festival

“These girls will go far. They sing and play like they mean it.” Douglas Montgomary - The Chair
“Fantastic playing, clearly loving what they are doing. With rapturous audience rapport, what more could you want in a show?” Anna Massie – BBC Radio Scotland
“Quite simply superb” Mumble Music

“With vibrant arrangements full of rich harmonies, energetic fiddle playing and driving piano, fara's show was an exhilarating one.” Celtic Music Radio

“Fara are a top quality band who know the tradition well.” The Living Tradition

“A fantastic musical experience.” Celtic Music Radio

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Fara Tech Specs

Fara Tech Spec