We’re lucky in Scotland to have a wealth of music to draw on, that connects us to the places we love. We want to create the ultimate Scottish music playlist to accompany an adventure in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
Our guiding and office team put their heads together to get the ball rolling. We chose a variety of songs by Scottish artists that connect us to our favourite Scottish places and memories. This eclectic selection includes such Scottish icons as the irrepressible musical charm of the Corries, the haunting Celtic rhythms of Martyn Bennett, the achingly beautiful Kathryn Joseph to the undeniable fusion of energy that is the Treacherous Orchestra!
We then asked people to submit their own suggestions of songs from Scotland that bind them to our wee country. A huge thanks to everyone who took part. Check out the incredible response we had on Facebook.
We then updated our own collection to create the ultimate Scottish music playlist.
“Julie Fowlis’ unmistakable voice and traditional music roots were shared with the world when she sang for Disney on the Brave soundtrack. Her passion for traditional Scots and Gaelic culture really transcend her music.”
A lot of our favourite Scottish bands are a medley of musicians from all over Scotland. However, some of the artists we have chosen so far hail from our favourite areas of the Highlands and Islands. Learn more about these areas here.
Comprising over 70 islands (34 of which are inhabited) this is a truly diverse area of cultural richness in Scotland and each island has its own distinctive character. The Isle of Skye is home to two of Scotland’s most exciting contemporary folk bands, Niteworks and the Peatbog Faeries. You may recognise the Niteworks song Air Fàir an Là, from VisitScotland’s 2019 promo video. The tiny isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides was the birthplace of another foot-stomping fusion band, Skerryvore and also Skipinnish.
The Outer Hebrides is a place of pristine scenery, intriguing culture and a way of life which doesn’t seem to have been caught up in the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. Julie Fowlis hails from the tiny island of North Uist. It’s lovely for us to think of the way those islands in the Hebrides that we love so much have shaped her career and the music of Scotland. Keith Morrison from Heron Valley is from the Isle of Lewis, the largest and most well-known island in the Outer Hebrides.
The North West Highlands’ incredible landscape offers dramatic peaks made of Torridonian sandstone, wooded glens and intricate lochs. The Highland rock outfit Torridon hails from near Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. The band has grown in popularity over the years, a firm festival favourite for upbeat folk-rock. The band has recently released a new album that tackles male mental health. Scottish singer-songwriter and musician Kathryn Joseph is also from Inverness.
The Cairngorms and central highlands have produced some of Scotland’s most iconic musicians. OBE winner Dougie Maclean hails from the edge of the Highlands in Dunblane, Perthshire. Composer of perhaps Scotland’s most memorable anthem, Caledonia. Although born in Canada, Martyn Bennett returned to Scotland with his mother at age 6. He spent his formative years in Kingussie in the Cairngorms, developing a passion for trad music that would later fuse with dance music to create his unique sound.
“Scottish folk & traditional music can be energetic and rhythmic, and completely undeniable. You’ll soon find yourself toe-tapping, head-bopping, and maybe even jumping in and joining the dancing. It can also be deeply emotional and slow, harking back to times and love lost.”
A visit to Scotland is not complete without even a brief experience of Scottish folk and traditional music. Learn more about this integral part of Scottish culture from famous trad artist Ewan MacPherson.
Subscribe to our YouTube Traditional Scottish Music Playlist here.