Julie Fowlis Brings Gaelic Songs and 'Brave' Voice to Barre Opera House

Diverse partnerships define Julie Fowlis' illustrious musical journey

by Nouman Rasool
Julie Fowlis Brings Gaelic Songs and 'Brave' Voice to Barre Opera House
© Jesse Grant/GettyImages

This Friday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m., the Barre Opera House will resonate with the haunting melodies of Scottish sensation, Julie Fowlis and her ensemble. Those captivated by the rugged charm of Scotland, be it through their ancestry, a love for Celtic tunes, or even the bewitching world of "Outlander", this Celebration Series concert is an event not to miss.

While Julie Fowlis’ name might not immediately strike a chord, her voice undeniably does. Acclaimed globally for her renditions in "Brave", the award-winning Disney-Pixar film that paints the ancient highlands of Scotland, Fowlis has firmly etched her place in cinematic history.

With descriptors like “crystalline” and “intoxicating” often accompanying mentions of her voice, she has serenaded vast audiences, including the staggering 1 billion who watched her during the Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games' opening ceremony in 2014.

Fowlis: Versatility and Honors

While her collaborations range from legends like James Taylor to contemporary stars like KT Tunstall, she doesn't limit herself to one genre or group. Fowlis' range is also showcased with folk supergroup, Spell Songs.

She's treasured back home, too—she was honored as Scotland’s inaugural National Gaelic Ambassador by the Scottish Government. But beyond the limelight, Julie's story is one deeply rooted in Scotland's tradition.

Raised in the Outer Hebrides, her upbringing amidst the breathtaking yet severe landscapes of the Hebrides profoundly influences her melodies. If you've ever ventured to these islands off Scotland's west coast, you'd recognize the atmosphere she weaves—endless summer days, even longer winter nights, and the unmistakable Scottish elements that shape its inhabitants.

Julie's very essence is molded by these terrains and the Gaelic-speaking community she was part of. The musical maestro began her journey on North Uist, where her parents ran a hotel. Born into a Gaelic-speaking family of fishermen and crofters, Gaelic isn't just her first language—it's the soulful voice behind most of her songs.

And even as English dominates, Julie’s commitment to the Gaelic tradition shines, a fact acknowledged when BBC Radio 2 crowned her "Folk Singer of the Year."