Fraser Fifield

Fraser Fifield

has developed an distinctive sound across the variety of wind instruments he plays and an approach to music making which has led to collaboration with a diverse list of artists. Described by the Sunday Herald as having “emerged as one of today's outstanding talents” and by Jazzwise magazine as “an outstanding product of the Scottish jazz-folk scene who at one moment can blow a low whistle like Charlie Parker steaming his way through ‘Ko-Ko’ and at the next knock out an air on a sax like a Highland traditionalist”,  he's consistently been guesting and collaborating as a whistle/sax/bagpipe player with a long list of bands and artists in the Scottish music scene and beyond for 20 years.  

He has released 5 albums of original music on his own Tanar label, to date. Esotero is the latest release in this on going series, a 'live studio recording' with guitarist Graeme Stephen. Songlines magazine commented upon on, 'Stereocanto' in 2009; “ it’s the interplay between intellectual construction, fleeting modal improvisations and sheer emotional sensuality of the music that makes this such a satisfying, and strikingly unified, piece of work”.  Other recordings are Honest Water, 2001, Slow Stream, 2005, Traces of Thrace 2008.

As a composer, Fraser is also responsible for a eclectic range of pieces including commissions for Mr McFalls Chamber, National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, Orchestra of Combined Specialist Music Schools in Scotland, Celtic Connections Festival, Highland Festival, Hebridean Celtic Festival, Dancebase Edinburgh, Scottish Arts Council/Creative Scotland, soundtrack and incidental music for television (BBC Natural World, BBC Alba, ITV) and was nominated 'Composer of the Year' in the 2010 Scots Trad Music Awards and also nominated for an Arts Foundation Fellowship 2010 and as 'Instrumentalist of the Year' at the 2009 Scots Trad Music Awards.  

As a multi-instrumentalist Fraser performs an uncommon combination of instruments which perhaps goes some way to explain his music: Highland Bagpipes, Border Pipes, Low Whistles, Soprano Saxophone, Bulgarian Kaval and occasionally percussion. In addition his interest in music technology, which also started at school using an Atari sequencer and a four track cassette recorder has never been far away, leading to a variety of work composing for media and producing other artist's recordings. Processing live instruments with a variety of electronics, has increasingly become a feature of his live concerts. Recording studio techniques have also influenced Fraser's music, self taught, engineering/mixing/producing all his 4 solo releases to date plus credits on several other albums as producer/mixer working from his home studio, including 'Sark O Snaw' by singer Mick West, nominated Best Album in the 2010 Scots Trad Music Awards.

Fifield has led groups for many years experimenting with a variety of instrumentation and personnel; trio, sextet, acoustic, electric, laptop... performing most of all in Scotland but also England, France, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Denmark, Sardinia, USA and Azerbaijan. Throughout 5 solo albums to date and over some 18 years, he has worked regularly with Edinburgh based guitarist, Graeme Stephen.

Fraser's unique style of playing is in part thanks to being allowed to experiment and learn in the company of many great artists including Zakir HussainSalsa Celtica, Old Blind Dogs, Afro Celt Sound System, Capercaillie, Hidden Orchestra, Mr McFalls Chamber, Nedyalko Nedyalkov, Nordanians, AleMoller/Aly Bain/Knut Riersrud/Eric Bibb , Red Note Ensemble, Inge Thomson, and many others.

'Hands Up for Trad' awarded the 2nd of the newly introduced 'Ignition Award', recognising innovation in traditional Scottish music, to Fraser in Feb 2015.  

Creative Scotland awarded an Artist Bursary to Fraser in Nov 2014 which will lead to a collection of new recordings featuring non-standard sources, beginning in summer 2015 in Buenos Aires with a collaboration featuring Walther Castro, bandoneon, Quique Sinesi, guitar and Horacio 'Mono' Hurtado on double bass.