Mairi Macinnes is one of the most accomplished singers performing in the Gaelic language in Scotland today.
The beauty and purity of her voice has made her compelling listening for those interested in Gaelic music. She has also become a regular fixture on Gaelic television and radio, her songs and personality entertaining in equal measure. Career highlights have included entertaining his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Holyrood Palace and performing as a soloist at the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Mairi was born in Baghasdail A Tuath, a small township on the beautiful and remote Hebridean island of South Uist. Gaelic was spoken exclusively at the home she shared with six siblings and it was not until Mairi went to school that she learned English. Her love for Gaelic is instinctive and enduring; her desire to share the beauty of her mother tongue has been a theme throughout her career.
Her enjoyment of singing was similarly instinctive and began at a very young age. In 1982 she became one of the youngest winners of the prestigious Gold Medal at the Royal National Mod, Scotland’s premier festival for the celebration and advancement of Gaelic culture. This historic win occurred on her first attempt and was followed the next year with winning the Pan-Celtic Festival in Killarney, Ireland.
Prior to releasing her first album, Mairi recorded and performed with the legendary band Runrig. Her debut Causeway was released in 1989 to widespread acclaim. Her growing profile led to her being approached by Gaelic dance group Mouth Music and to tours in the United States and Canada. She recorded the EP Blue Door Green Sea with Mouth Music before choosing to return to her solor career.
Mairi’s most famous work is This Feeling Inside (Is Gadheal Mi). It was translated into both Gaelic and Welsh to be recorded with the Llangwm Male Voice Choir on their album Ysbyrd Y Gael. She performed with the choir and the BBC Welsh Philharmonic Orchestra in St David’s Hall Cardiff for a special St Valentine’s Day broadcast for BBC television and radio. It was recorded once more with the Glasgow Gaelic Choir for the Gaelic Women – Ar Canan’s Ar Ceol album. The song was named by Robbie Shepherd as his Song of the Year for BBC Radio Scotland’s Reel Blend.
Further work for BBC Radio has included a performance for classic primetime television show Songs of Praise. Her song Sit At My Table was played on Radio 2 on Christmas.
Mairi was chosen as the singer for William Jackson’s song for Scotland: Land of Light. It won the Glasgow Herald’s New Song for the Millennium competition, selected from 249 entries hailing from countries as far afield as the Faroe Islands, New Zealand and the United States.
Mairi’s latest album Gras – Grace was released on January 22nd, 2015 to rave reviews. Resonating with deeply felt emotion, it tells the story of the past 10 years in beautiful, haunting but ultimately uplifting phrases.
Beyond her musical career, Mairi is interested in origins if Gaelic song and its historical content. Mairi loves meeting people and hearing and learning ever more about the human voice. But music remains her lifelong love and she has dedicated her career to the promotion of Gaelic music and culture throughout Scotland and beyond.