A SCOTTISH singer is set to become a global Gaelic sensation through her star role in the new Pixar children’s movie Brave.
Julie Fowlis, from North Uist in the Western Isles, sings the theme tune for the animated Hollywood blockbuster – to be released in the summer – which tells the story of a fictional Highland princess.
Snatches of Fowlis’s haunting gaelic melody – Tha Mo Ghaol Air Ird A’ Chuain (My Love Is On The High Seas) – were played to audiences of the Academy Awards ceremnony in the US last weekend.
After the 30-second clip was aired, drawing huge internet interest, Fowlis said: “I’ll be singing this for the rest of my life. It’s gone wild.
“I’m thrilled. The song features on our [her and her musician husband Eamon Doorley’s first album] Mar A Tha Mo Chridhe (As My Heart Is).”
Yesterday, Fowlis’ agent, Paul Fenn, said: “We have already had a lot of calls from the US. They haven’t finished recording it all yet, but Julie is due to give birth in about a month’s time [to her second child] – her due date is the beginning of April.”
Glaswegian-born Patrick Doyle is the composer for Brave – the fairy tale of a reluctant heiress to the throne, Princess Merida, set in the Highlands.
Part of his research included trips to the Hebrides to listen to unaccompanied Gaelic psalm singing, to get into the mood of the film. Fenn said: “I don’t know whether he knew Julie beforehand, but he heard her singing and fell in love with her voice.”
Already the web has been buzzing with queries about the identity of the singer with the golden voice.
My Love’s On The High Sea is originally a Scottish pipe tune which gained English lyrics from American Bernard Covert and which, in turn, was translated into Gaelic by Henry Whyte. Fowlis grew up in a Gaelic-speaking community and has been singing, piping and dancing since a child.
The singer, who now lives in Dingwall, Easter Ross, with her young daughter, has helped Gaelic music gain a wider audience throughout her career.
She was the first Scottish Gaelic artist to appear on the popular BBC show Later... With Jools Holland in 2007. And a year later was chosen as BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2008. She also presented Fowlis And Folk on BBC Radio Scotland for two years.
She is Scotland’s first Gaelic Ambassador – Tosgaire na Gaidhlig – an honour bestowed by the Scottish Parliament in 2008-9. And she is currently also studying for a Masters degree through Scotland’s only Gaelic College, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, based on Skye. She is also part of the sextet Dochas, who were named best newcomers at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2004.
In Brave, the impetuous, tangle-haired Merida – played by Kelly Macdonald – though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. Merida is the daughter of King Fergus, played by Billy Connolly, and Queen Elinor, played by Emma Thompson.
Pixar has tried to be meticulous in recreating the story’s Scottish setting, including using the Callanish standing stones on the Isle of Lewis as a backdrop.
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