Joy Dunlop


About Joy Dunlop

Even before Gaelic folk singer Joy Dunlop released her first album, Dùsgadh ("Awakening"), in 2010, she had already achieved substantially higher visibility than almost every other artist in the scene, thanks to her parallel careers as a step dancer, a journalist, and a television presenter. Born and brought up in the tiny village of Connel in Argyll, Scotland, Dunlop became entranced by Gaelic music and culture from an early age. Introduced to the language through songs taught by a woman in the village, she achieved fluency by completing an immersion degree at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the world’s only Scottish Gaelic higher education college. After that, she got heavily involved in the Gaelic world, presenting television and radio programs and writing newspaper columns. She also became something of an ambassador for Gaelic, working as a development officer for the language not only in her native Argyll but in Canada and New Zealand. She also qualified as a language teacher. Dunlop's list of musical accomplishments is far too extensive to list here. The recipient of numerous prizes at Celtic music festivals, including a coveted gold medal at the Royal National Mòd, she was heavily involved in the Gaelic choral scene, singing in two choirs and directing Còisir Ceann an Tuirc ("The Boar’s Head Choir"), the highly regarded male voice choir. She was a member of the all-female quartet Dealrach ("Radiant"), and appeared as a guest on numerous recordings by other artists. Her debut solo album, Dùsgadh, was critically acclaimed, and saw her flirting with genres outside the folk music continuum, such as jazz. After a collaboration with the duo Twelfth Day on the 2012 album Fiere, on which she also sang in English and Scots, she returned to Gaelic and to a more traditional sound for her second effort, Faileasan ("Reflections"), a concept album of sorts which explored the musical tradition of her native Argyll, and was recorded there using only musicians from the area. ~ John D. Buchanan

Connel, Argyll, Scotland

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