Fiona Wight – Biography (Courtesy of the Artist, 2007)
The Challenge - ‘The Last Rose’
Fiona gave herself the massive challenge of composing, performing, producing and marketing her debut solo album ‘The Last Rose’, financing and managing the project herself from start to finish.
Working in collaboration with Cathal Synnott, Musical Director of Riverdance, and Ireland’s premiere young producer, Mark McCabe, Fiona has created an exciting and emotional contemporary Celtic World album. Her enchanting voice blends with the beautiful sound of outstanding young musicians including Cora Venus Lunny on violin and viola, Robbie Harris on percussion, John O’Brien on pipes and whistle, Andreja Malir on harp and Des Moore on Spanish guitar.
Singing, writing, producing and playing the piano, Fiona amply demonstrates the talent and skills she has developed during her musical life. The album features new songs from Fiona and Cathal Synnott, stunning new interpretations of traditional songs, plus other works from modern Celtic writers.
The Celtic Experience
Drawn to the west Fiona moved to Ireland, where she joined world-renowned Celtic chamber choir Anúna. She fast became a well-loved soloist with the group, and was selected to represent Irish President Mary McAleese on her state visit to South America. She toured Europe and America, recorded for TV and radio, and performed on Anúna albums and music videos during her time with the group.
Fiona’s distinctive, crystalline voice was picked up by Riverdance, and she became the lead singer in the show touring Ireland, Japan, Taiwan and America, and will revisit this role in the UK later this year. Her amusing blog of life on the road with the show gives an insight into the highs and lows of life as a working musician.
Fiona was classically trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London after winning the prestigious BBC UK Choirgirl of the Year competition and also the Royal School of Church music Choirgirl of the Year as a young teen. At just 16 years old Fiona was invited to join the National Youth Choir of Great Britain on their World Tour as a soloist.
Her first album, recorded at the age of 14, was a top ten classical chart release. Recorded with the UK Choirboy of the Year, it was received to national acclaim, “…together they give the best performance I have heard of Lloyd Weber’s Pie Jesu.” The Daily Mail.
The Starting Point
With strong Celtic roots and a love of all music, Fiona’s first memories are of singing folk songs from around the world with her sisters. She grew up surrounded by the music of the bagpipes, fiddle, bodhrán, tuba, trumpet, piano, bass guitar, clarinet, mbira, drums...to name a few. Music and singing were the most natural output for her emotions.
Highlights of Fiona’s performing career.
Fiona has sung in more than 21 countries on 5 continents over the past 10 years, some of the high points include:
The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin (Riverdance); The Glasgow Festival Hall (Celtic Connections); The Royal Albert Hall, London (with Sir Cliff Richard); The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall, Southbank in London; The National Concert Hall, Ireland; Buxton Opera House; Grand Opera House, Northern Ireland; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh; (Anúna); The Hippodrome, London; The Churchill Theatre (with BBC Radio Two Young Musician of the Year); UK Houses of Parliament (Sarah Ferguson fundraising gala with Boy George); Charity event with the Archbishop of Canterbury; Westminster Central Hall, London; Saint James’s Palace (for Prince Edward).
Radio and TV performances have been many and varied including:
BBC 1; ITV; FOX Television (USA); Classic FM; BBC World Service; RTE (Ireland); TV3 (Ireland). BBC Children in Need (Her voice was ‘auctioned’ by Terry Wogan); GMTV (ITV); Joy to the World (BBC); Songs of Praise (BBC); Gloria Hunniford’s Christmas Gala concert (BBC); Good Morning Sunday (BBC); Spring Harvest (BBC).
The Last Rose - Collaborators
Other people involved in the creation of ‘The Last Rose’ include:
• Cathal Synnott - Co-Wrtier, Co-Producer, Backing Vocals, Piano and Keyboards
• Cora Venus Lunny – Violin and Viola
• Mark McCabe – Engineer, Co-Producer and Co-Arranger
• Gerald Peregrine – Cello
• Robbie Harris – Percussion
• John McGlynn – Acoustic Guitar and Composer/Arranger
• Des Moore – Spanish Guitar
• Andreja Malir – Harp
• John O’Brien – Uilleann Pipes, Whistle and Low Whistle
• Eunan McDonald – Backing Vocals
Additional material from Paula Smith, Ronan Hardiman, Rolf Lovland & David Agnew.