With Capercaillie (“the most exciting and vibrant band in the field of Celtic music today” – Billboard), Karen Matheson has enjoyed a stellar career. Capercaillie have sold more than a million albums, performed in over 30 countries and written and featured in the blockbuster movie Rob Roy with Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange, in which Karen performed a solo rendition of a Gaelic lament.
In December 2010 she was presented with an Honorary degree in music from the Robert Gordon University – another achievement to add to her OBE, and award of “Best Gaelic Singer” from the inaugural Scottish folk awards – just some of the many plaudits earned during an astonishing career.
In 2015 she released Urram (Respect) – a collection of timeless Gaelic songs that evoke the character of her Hebridean roots, through walking songs, love songs, lullabies, mouth music and evocative poems to the surroundings. The sound of the album is engagingly contemporary in its ambition though, with guest musicians including Seiko Keita (Senegal) on African kora, Soumik Datta (India) on Sarod, Scotland’s Mr. McFall’s chamber on strings.
As a solo performer, Karen has been involved in various projects worldwide including the award-winning BBC series Transatlantic Sessions, where over the last decade she has filmed tracks with artists like James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, The McGarrigle Sisters, Nanci Griffith, and a host of respected Scottish musicians. Her many collaborators have included Algerian singer Idir, Breton guitarist Dan Ar Braz and Portuguese star Dulce Pontes and the late Pete Seeger.
Highlights have included sharing the stage with Pete Seeger in New York and performing at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where her stunning rendition of ‘Ae fond kiss’ stole the show to a televised audience of over 600 million people.