Karen Matheson Biography
Widely recognised as the compelling vocals of Celtic super-‐group Capercaillie, Karen’s life in the limelight began with her performing as a child in her local village hall on the West coast of Scotland , where she was brought up immersed in the deep well of traditional gaelic songs that have been her inspiration for over 20 years of recording and performing worldwide.
In December 2009 she was presented with an Honorary degree in music from the Robert Gordon University – another achievement to add to her OBE and award of “Best Gaelic singer” from the inaugural Scottish folk awards -‐ just some of the many plaudits earned from an astonishing career.
With Capercaillie, described as: “the most exciting and vibrant band in the field of Celtic music today” (Billboard), Karen has enjoyed a stellar career. Capercaillie have sold more than a million albums , performed in over thirty countries and written and starred in the blockbuster movie ‘Rob Roy’, with Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange, in which Karen performed a solo rendition of a Gaelic lament.
As a solo performer, Karen has been involved in various projects of collaboration worldwide including recordings and performances with Algerian singer Idir, Breton singer Dan Ar Braz and Portuguese star Dulce Pontes.
Closer to home she has performed on the award winning BBC series Transatlantic Sessions, where over the last decade she has filmed tracks with artists like James Taylor , Emmylou Harris, The McGarrigle Sisters, Nanci Griffith, and a host of respected Scottish musicians. She recently featured in the sold-‐out tour of this show at Celtic Connections and around the UK.
Her latest album, the solo project ‘Urram’ (Gaelic for respect) is a musical love letter to her families’ Hebridean roots, with a collection of timeless Gaelic songs that evoke the character and atmosphere of Island life, through work songs, love songs, lullabies, mouth music and evocative poems to the surroundings.
The sound of the album is engagingly contemporary in it’s ambition though, with guest musicians including Seckou Keita (Senegal) on African kora, Soumik Datta (India) on Sarod, Scotland’s Mr.McFall’s Chamber group on strings, Innes White & Sorren MacLean on guitars, and long-term musical partner Donald Shaw producing and on Piano.
Karen Matheson reviews
“...has the ability to inject pure emotion into a song. The kind of voice that can leave you shell-shocked.” The Sunday Times
“...remarkable in English but breathtaking when she draws on Hebridean roots to sing in Gaelic.” The Daily Telegraph
“Karen Matheson has a throat that is surely touched by God.” Sean Connery