The Scotsman Sessions #259: The Countess of Fife

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Fay Fife, aka the Countess of Fife, performs her new song Hard Woman to Love

All hail the Countess of Fife. You may know her better as Fay Fife, righteous and mischievous frontwoman of Edinburgh new wave icons The Rezillos, but she is captured here in rollicking cowpunk mode, beaming in for her Scotsman Session from the MacArts centre in Galashiels, accompanied by Allan Mcdowall and Dave Coyle on a brand new song Hard Woman to Love.

“It’s essential to keep writing and developing,” says Fife, “and making three minutes of music for The Scotsman is a great opportunity to try out new ideas. Lyrically, it’s about a lot of things, but fundamentally it uses an old-fashioned misogynistic-sounding idea and turns it on its head.”

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When she’s not indulging in a spot of country subversion, Fife has also been collaborating with Goodbye Mr Mackenzie frontman Martin Metcalfe and Russian artist Maria Rud on a multi-media performance Shamanic Live, filmed in the Pleasance Courtyard for online streaming during this year’s Fringe (as part of the Made in Scotland programme), while the Rezillos are scheduled to perform at Kirkcaldy’s Breakout festival in October.

The Countess of Fife with Allan Mcdowall and Dave Coyle

Although it’s good to have dates in the diary, Fife is feeling ambivalent about the past year. “I’ve loved hearing the sound of the birds, but the pandemic and lockdown has had a devastating effect on many aspects of my own and others’ lives,” she says. “Without the opportunity to rehearse and play live, The Countess of Fife effectively ceased to be a working live band of core musicians. It just became an unsustainable idea.”

Instead, the Countess has maintained her fiefdom by pulling in a range of musicians to record a new Countess of Fife album, produced by Edinburgh-based composer Jim Sutherland, which is set for release early next year. “It’s been difficult but I’m really excited about it,” she says.

Shamanic Live, is online from 16-30 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2021, www.edfringe.com. The Countess Of Fife and The Rezillos play the Breakout Festival, Kirkcaldy, from 8-10 October, https://breakout-together.com/

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