Kate Young with dandelions

Growing up immersed within a Folk music background in Edinburgh, Kate Young has emerged as one Scotland’s most innovative composers and musicians. She is driven by the exploration of new sounds found in traditional musics around the globe, which feed into her compositional world. As a musician, Kate combines voice with fiddle-playing techniques to conjure intriguing soundscapes as she navigates her way across musical genres.

A recipient of the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers 2018, Kate has also toured globally with bands such as Moulettes, (Eliza Carthy MBE) Carthy, Hardy, Farrell & Young, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening , Hannah James’s JigDoll Ensemble. In 2015-16 she collaborated with ten folk musicians from Scotland and England, all women, for Songs of Separation, a record which gained ‘Album of the Year’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award in 2017. Her own band (previously known as Kate in the Kettle) is focussed on her combining of composition for string quintet and song.

Over the last five years she has developed her interests in British plant lore and folktales, learning directly from books and then weaving information into her songs and compositions as a means to perpetuate and empower traditions at high risk of being lost. In 2016 she completed a significant commission for Celtic Connections’s New Voices and wrote a suite of pieces around the theme of the natural world. Her response – a complete repertoire of songs inspired by British medicinal plants, set to string quintet, with harp, double bass and percussion – was met with wide acclaim.

More recently, Kate has endeavoured to continue extending her creative and compositional research by studying a Masters’ degree in Scenography in Utrecht, Netherlands.