History of Mairi MacInnes


Mairi MacInnes was born in Baghasdail a Tuath - North Boisdale, a small township on the beautiful and remote Hebridean island of South Uist. Gaelic was spoken exclusively at home with whom she shared with her six siblings and it was not until Mairi went to school that she learned to speak English. Her love of the Gaelic language is instinctive and enduring, her desire to share the beauty of her mother tongue has been a theme throughout her career.


Mairi ‘s passion for singing was similarly instinctive and clearly evident at a very young age. Whenever Mairi was asked by her teachers at school what did she want to be..  Mairi’s reply was always that she wanted to be a singer and to travel the world. 

In 1982 Mairi 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 the Gaelic culture. This historic win occurred on her first attempt and it was followed the next year with winning the Pan-Celtic Festival in Killarney, Ireland.


Prior to releasing Mairi’s debut album Causeway in 1989 which was released to widespread acclaim, Mairi’s growing profile led her to be approached by Gaelic dance group Mouth Music which led to tours in the USA and Canada. Mairi recorded the EP Blue Door Green Sea with Mouth Music before choosing to return to a solo career.


During this time Mairi was also developing a television career in parallel to her singing career with presenting programmes for BBC Scotland, STV, and Grampian television which included Brag, Dotaman, Siudan, Trang-Trang, Na Daoine Beaga, Orain ‘s Rannan .


Mairi’s second album This Feeling Inside was released by Greentrax in 1995 - The title track This Feeling Inside - Is Gaidheal Mi was translated into both Gaelic and Welsh and recorded with the Llangwm Male Welsh Voice Choir on their album Ysbryd Y Gael. After the album release, Mairi was invited to perform the song 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 for The Gaelic Women - Ar Canan’s Ar Ceol compilation CD when Mairi featured with the Glasgow Gaelic Choir. 


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 Millenium competition, selected from 249 entries from countries as far afield as the Faroe Islands, New Zealand and the United States.

Due to this success, Mairi was invited to perform the song at Holyrood Palace to an invited audience which included HRH The Prince of Wales.


Following this performance in the same year, Mairi was approached by the renowned Edinburgh Military Tattoo to perform Land of Light accompanied by 500 Military Pipers as part of their 2000 Millenium show.

2001- Mairi’s third album Orosay was released and produced by Calum Malcolm then in 2002 Tickettyboo was released (songs old and new for children )

Since then Mairi has toured USA, Canada, Germany, Wales, Spain, Brittany 


In 2001 Mairi was asked to join the Academy of Music and Drama now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to teach Gaelic Song on The Traditional Music Degree Course which Mairi continues to teach to this day.


Over 20 years ago Mairi was one of the founder members of establishing Feis Arainn which is still thriving and encouraging young people to participate in the Gaelic culture and continues as an annual event on the island and which Mairi continues to support.


Mairi has also taught Gaelic song extensively throughout Scotland, USA and Canada notably at Ceolas Summer School - Isle of South Uist, Sabhal Mor Ostaig - Isle of Skye

Grand Father Mountain Highland Games - North Carolina.


Mairi’s Latest album Gras was released in 2015. Resonating with deeply felt emotion as it conveys the story of the past 10 years in beautiful, haunting but ultimately uplifting phrases.


The remake of the film Whisky Galore was premiered on screen in 2017. Mairi sang the theme song for the film ‘Gairm na h-oidche’ - Calling the Night which was written by Patrick Doyle who in January as part of Celtic Connections invited Mairi to perform the song with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at his concert Patrick Doyle - A Celebration


Last Year Mairi toured all over Scotland with the critically acclaimed show ‘Far Far From Ypres’ production by Ian McCalman which won The Trad Awards show of the Year 2018 as part of the 1st World War Centenary.  The final show performance was held at the Usher Hall Edinburgh. Mairi was commissioned to write and perform her new song Tha ar N’aim ard air Menheim - Our Names upon the Menin Gate exclusively for the show.


Mairi is currently in the process of writing new songs for her new album next year. The title is still yet to be announced!


Beyond her musical career, Mairi is interested in origins of Gaelic song and its content. Mairi loves meeting people and hearing and learning 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.