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Catriona Watt

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  • Born: Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Years Active: 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

This Scottish singer, born June 28, 1987, in Aberdeen, Scotland, was hailed as one of the rising stars of Gaelic music after she won the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award in 2007. Her warm, rich, expressive voice, the top-notch musicianship of her band, her judicious choice of repertoire, and her good fortune to start out in music at a time when Gaelic music was enjoying a resurgence, all combined to make her unexpectedly popular. A native Gaelic speaker, Catriona Watt grew up in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Western Isles, where from early childhood she was taught Gaelic songs by her grandmother, who lived on the tiny island of Great Bernera. Watt also learned to play the whistle and fiddle and, while still a secondary school pupil at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, she and three other girls from Lewis formed the band Teine (Fire). The band's performances at ceilidhs and in competitions led to appearances at several prestigious festivals, and in 2006 Teine released their low-budget debut album, Làn Tighe Chaileagan (A House Full of Lasses), which was warmly received.

In 2007, Watt beat off stiff competition to clinch the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award for her singing. As part of her prize, she won a recording contract with the prominent Scottish folk label Foot Stompin'. Just two months after her win, Watt and her Teine bandmate Judie Morrison were involved in an embarrassing scandal after their drunken indiscretion of two years previous with a married Scottish National Party MP was splashed across the tabloid press. Fortunately, after shamefaced apologies by all concerned, Watt was able to put the incident behind her and focus on her career. By that time a student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, she was able to form a new band with three other students who were themselves extremely accomplished musicians. In between her studies, she recorded her debut solo album, Cadal Cuain (Ocean Sleep), which was released by Foot Stompin' in 2008 to wide acclaim.