Fiona Ross

Sharing a Passion for the Scots Song Tradition

Fiona grew up in Partick, in the west end of Glasgow, also spending time at her family home in North Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis during her teenage years. The youngest of a busy household of five children, she inherited a love of Scottish music from her dad, and began singing popular Scottish songs from a young age. It was in the 1980s that Fiona truly embraced the Scots song tradition, immersing herself in Edinburgh’s vibrant folk scene and serving her apprenticeship in the folk clubs and memorable singing sessions of the time. She was fortunate to be singing at sessions in the company of many fine singers who remain at the heart of the tradition in Scotland and who are some of Fiona’s favourite singers to this day - Aileen Carr, Maureen Jelks, Cy Laurie and Danny Couper to name a few.

Fiona then joined the group Handsel with Scottish folk scene stalwarts Brian Miller, Gavin Livingstone and fiddler Anna-Wendy Stevenson (later Sharon Hassan), performing at traditional music festivals around the country.

In 2009, Fiona left Scotland to move to Melbourne. Here in Australia, she has continued to fly the flag for the Scots song tradition. Shortly after coming here, she formed a band with renowned folk musicians Ken Maher, Jack Wilson (& later Gus Downing) & Michelle Doyle. In recent years, Fiona has had the privilege of working, touring and recording with celebrated guitarists Shane O'Mara, Tony McManus and Ken Nicol. She is a regular performer at major Australian festivals including Woodford Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, the National Celtic Festival & the National Folk Festival.

Fiona's thirst to delve deeper into the Scots song tradition led her to work closely with Andrew Hunter - renowned singer, piper and songwriter. In the 1950s, Andy met the great Traveller balladeer Jeannie Robertson. He was so taken by her singing - and her presence - that he moved to Aberdeen to be able to spend time with her. Andy learned a great deal from Jeannie and her husband Donald (Donty) Robertson, and from getting to know about Traveller values and their way of life. He has generously shared much of what he learned with Fiona. 

Fiona was a Finalist for Scots Singer of the Year in the prestigious Scots Trad Music Awards 2019. Her most recent album, Sunwise Turn (Fiona Ross & Shane O'Mara), won Best Folk Album in Music Victoria's 2020 Awards. It has recently been announced as a Finalist for Traditional Album of the Year in the Australian Folk Music Awards 2021. 

In addition to a busy schedule of concerts, workshops and talks, Fiona is currently completing a PhD through the University of Melbourne Conservatorium. She works with traditional singers in Scotland and overseas to explore and document the importance of a singing style and tradition that is now rapidly changing.