Biography

“her voice can stop the clock” – The Scotsman

Mairi Campbell is an influential and pioneering figure in Scottish music. Her music has a rooted and powerful quality and her musical interests are wide-ranging: from playing Scottish dance music to pushing the boundaries of the traditional music scene with her soundings and improvisations.

Mairi was one of the pioneers to introduce the viola as an effective aesthetic voice in Scottish traditional music, and to reintroduce solo step-dancing to Scotland in the early 90s.

In 2017, Mairi Campbell: Pulse was nominated for Event of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards. Before that, Mairi was named Instrumentalist of the Year 2016 and previously Scots Singer of The Year and Tutor of The Year. She has also received the Live Ireland Music Award for Best Female Musician of the Year and Best Composition of the Year.

Her voice was heard worldwide when her version of Auld Lang Syne (with David Francis as The Cast) was used in a pivotal scene in the film Sex and The City (2008). She has performed the song at the Kennedy Center Awards before President Clinton and at the Scottish Parliament.

Mairi plays regularly with the Occasionals, Mr McFalls Chamber and Caledonia Concerto. She was musical director of the Edinburgh-based folk-choir Sangstream for 12 years and has worked extensively as a session musician.

Mairi is a skilled and experienced free improviser who has continuously developed her practice and found collaborators and mentors in this field. Most recently she has worked with Kath Burlinson (Authentic Artist Collective) and Paul Oertel and Nancy Spanier. She is also trained in InterPlay, a cross-form arts and community building practice.

Mairi originally studied viola at the Guildhall School of Music and attended Peter Wiegold and Peter Renshaw’s pioneering course Music Performance and Communication Skills in 1985.

Other influences are Benno Plassmann (The Working Party) and Sahaja Yoga. In 2007 Mairi founded her own music retreats on the Isle of Lismore.

To book Mairi Campbell for a concert, or for more information, please contact Mairi directly. Also, check out the Media & Promoters page for marketing packs, posters and brochures and for a Dropbox link to high-res photos.

“Mairi Campbell has got to be one of the most fascinating women on the planet. The album is utterly, utterly entrancing” – Mike Harding, The Mike Harding Folk Show 176, May 2016
“Mairi is without question one of Scotland’s most all-encompassing musicians. She works and performs in many fields and the list is breathtaking” – Freeland Barbour, musician
“Mairi currently pioneers the improvisational use of voice and instruments in a context which extends the boundaries of our contemporary culture from traditional roots” – Mhairi Lawson, classical singer
“After so many years working in music isn’t it great when music yet again displays its power to shock and stun you and reduce you to tears” – Tom Bancroft, musician
“The overarching way in which she has used her understanding of the Scottish folk scene, music, and her own life, in the creation of Pulse, makes it unique. Campbell is at the forefront of this notion of combining art forms, at least in the folk world, developing what a show or gig can be. And far from being irrelevant to the rest of the Celtic Connections line-up, Pulse — to my mind at least — is also at the heart of it all” – Joe Peach, West Highland Free Press
“Mairi is a remarkable musician, an artist whose work transfigures consciousness” – Alisdair MacIntosh, author of Soil and Soul
“More chilled and hypnotic than Martyn Bennett, this music is for the blissed-out stage of the evening” – Folk Roots
“A beguiling brew of folk and trip-hop… potent reminders of the rhythmic thrills of both traditional and modern dance music” – The Musician