Isla’s 2018 Highlights

Happy new year! I hope you had a peaceful, happy and healthy 2018. Here are my highlights from the year.


My Celtic Connections debut! I had great fun performing with the Fèis Rois Cèilidh Trail.



I started going to folk sessions with a person with a disability as a volunteer with Gig Buddies Scotland, who support people with disabilities to go to gigs, concerts and plays. 



I curated and delivered workshops for P7 children to highlight to them the benefits of music for their mental health. The show was called ‘Music For Mental Wellbeing and Resilience: The City of Edinburgh Music School Roadshow’ and was developed in partnership with four S6 students from the City of Edinburgh Music School.

I played some tunes and sang some songs with Marit Fält on Paddy’s Day at Brewhemia.


I volunteered with Drake Music Scotland to deliver music activities for people with disabilities, culminating in a brilliant performance of Aidan O’Rourke’s new commission ‘Skein’ at Drake Music Scotland’s 20th anniversary concert.


I started a 5-week residency with Starcatchers in Lochgelly to deliver songwriting sessions for young parents. We performed these songs in a ‘work-in-progress’ show for early years in July.


Acorn (a squirrel) and I (a wood nymph) had great fun playing fiddle and sharing some Scots songs with children at the brilliant new Wildhood Festival. I’m looking forward to the 2019 festival already!


I took part in a weekend masterclass with the fantastic RANT in Inverness.


I achieved a DipABRSM Teaching Diploma with Distinction, having taught 20 students over the academic year.

isla ratcliff - dipabrsm teaching diploma

I toured for 4 weeks with the Fèis Rois Gaelic National Cèilidh Trail 2018, including performances at Cambridge Folk Festival and Sidmouth FolkWeek. Have a listen to 56:25-1:26:30 in this video of our Finale concert.


I took a break from working and went interrailing for a month in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. I may have bought a fiddle in the Slovakian mountains and enjoyed playing with other musicians who I met on my travels…



I started a 2-year Masters degree in Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I’m having a brilliant time so far! 



I delivered composition workshops for Higher music students at Penicuik High School as part of Enterprise Music Scotland’s Train & Sustain programme, inspiring students to use Scottish poetry as inspiration for composing music.



I appeared on BBC Reporting Scotland ranting about Brexit and its potential damaging effects on musicians’ careers. I’m very happy that I’ll be soon be getting one of these…



I delivered a Scots songwriting workshop at the brilliant new Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival.


Thank you for reading 🙂 I wish you lots of music, health and happiness for 2019! xx

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