Shona Mooney

Shona Mooney is a Borders fiddle player and one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians.


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Since winning the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2006 she has appeared at international festivals such as Tønder (Denmark), gone on tour with Scottish Folk orchestra The Unusual Suspects and recorded her debut album.

‘Heartsease (viola tricolour)’ was released on Footstompin’ Records earlier this year and has captured the imagination of listeners and reviewers alike. It fuses musical agility with thematic concept, traditional Borders style with contemporary flair, and it’s no surprise that it has gone on to have plenty of positive feedback, including ‘Top of the World’ (editor’s choice) in Songlines magazine, 5-star reviews in The Herald and multiple broadcasts on BBC’s Late Junction.

“From solo fiddle to full band, the fiddle dances and sings through beds of flowers to end in an astonishing collaged séance with past Borders fiddle masters in a hymn to her homeland." Norman Chalmers, Scotland on Sunday

Shona began playing in O’er the Border with her parents Barbara and Gordon Mooney, bowing a tiny second-hand fiddle bought for her in a junk shop in Peebles! During a peripatetic childhood moving between Newstead, Newtown, Westruther, Maxton, Eildon and Lauder in the Borders, she studied classical violin and traditional fiddle styles with the prominent Borders fiddler Lucy Cowan before joining the vibrant traditional musical scene fostered by Harris Playfair and John Mabon at Kelso High School.

In 2001, aged 17, Shona enrolled upon Newcastle upon Tyne’s newly founded degree course in Folk & Traditional Music. Here she continued researching music of the Scottish Borders, stemming from her father’s contribution to the world of Borders piping. Along the way she had tuition from some great fiddlers - Catriona MacDonald, Chris Wood and Aidan O'Rourke – who supported her desire to take Borders fiddle to a new level by making new interpretations and blending the style with more contemporary influences.

Since graduating with first class honours, her feet haven’t touched the ground! She began by recording albums with her fellow degree friends, including Crosscurrent’s ‘Momentum’ and Border Young Fiddle’s self-titled debut and went on to perform and teach at major events including Cambridge, Warwick, Dranouter Folk festivals and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

A little further down the line and her very own Shona Mooney Band was formed to fulfil her desire of exploring and expanding the Borders repertoire. Particular highlights so far this year have been to perform alongside Capercaillie stars Donald Shaw and Karen Matheson at the BBC Proms in the Park and to be chosen to appear on Howard Goodall's ‘How Music Works’ for Channel 4.

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