2006 Awardee: Kathleen Boyle

I am delighted and honoured to receive the award.


Kathleen Boyle, born and brought up in Castlemilk, Glasgow, comes from a long line of musicians originally from Donegal. She and her three siblings all learned to play Irish traditional music from their father.

With the help of a scholarship, Kathleen was able to go on to study Scottish traditional music at RSAMD, where she had her first formal accordion and piano lessons. Kathleen was the only person in her school year to attend university.

Kathleen, 27, now works as a freelance musician and plays with the band Dochas, which was the winner of the best newcomer award at the 2005 Scottish traditional music awards. More recently Kathleen has played with the band Cherish the Ladies, based in the US. Kathleen is current Scottish and British accordion, piano and piano accompaniment champion in traditional Irish music. She is also a tutor at RSAMD and co-ordinates their YouthWorks programme.

Kathleen’s ambition is to produce a solo CD of Scottish and Irish traditional music, bringing together the two main musical influences in her life. The album will include some of her own compositions as well as other contemporary music and traditional songs. Throughout the years many songs and tunes have been handed down through the five generations of musicians in her family, many of which have never been recorded. One is the famous tune ‘The Moving Cloud’ which was composed by her grandfather and is still often played by traditional musicians.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will provide the funding to record and produce Kathleen’s first solo CD.

Since the Award

After finishing the recording of her CD, Kathleen writes, “A personal highlight of the project was visiting Donegal to record track 11 “The Moving Clouds”. This tune was composed by my late grandfather Neillidh Boyle. We used the original archival recording of Neillidh Boyle playing the fiddle and recorded an accordion and piano part with myself and my father respectively. The recording was conducted in my father’s house in Cronashallog, Dungloe and when we were there we realised that the original recording was made in the exact same place 54 years earlier. My grandfather died in 1961 and so I never had the chance to meet him. On listening back to the track we heard for the first time ever the three generations playing together.”

I am delighted and honoured to receive the award.