Aileen Carr was born in Coupar Angus in Perthshire. Her father, self-taught on the melodeon, had a fine Scots voice. He was also a fan of Willie Kemp, the concert-hall 'cornkister king' whose recordings, along with those of George Morris, domonated the 1930s. She recalls that her mother also sang and played the piano at musical evenings at home, with songs from the past and present, old and new, traditional and popular.
They coudn't afford piano lessons for Aileen, but that didn't hold back her interest in music and song. In true folksinging style she would happily sing to people- even on the bus - as a little girl, but was to shy to have her voice trained for public performance. AS a teenager, she was encouraged to sing and perform with the concert party led by Meg Murdoch, an Aberfeldy fiddler then living in Blairgowrie.
The 1960s were exciting times. The airwaves and record shops were full of groups such as The Clancy Brothers, and The Corries and Paddy Bell, but it was hearing the likes of Belle Stewart at the 1967 Blairgowrie Festival that was a defining moment for her - not to mention the day she got given at teacher training college a copy of Norman Buchan and Peter Hall's 1973 Scottish Folksinger.
Meanwhile the family had moved to Goole, in Yorkshire, where she joined them as a teacher. There was a thriving folk club in South Cave run by a Scotsman, John O'Hagen, who encouraged her to become a floor singer both there and at the Bluebell Club in Hull, where she met many performers such as Alison McMorland, and Archie Fisher.
In the 1970s she returned to Scotland and Archie suggested she base herself in Fife. She became a regular solo unaccompanied singer at St Andrew's and other folk clubs, performing at Kinross Festival and throughout Britain and Ireland. In the 1980s she joined Ceolbeg for a time, then Maureen Jelks, Chris Miles and Gordeanna McCulloch to perform at the Ballyshannon Festival as what was to become the highly popular acappella group, Palaver.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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