Karen Matheson’s life in the limelight began with her performing as a child in her local village hall in Argyll on the West coast of Scotland, where she was brought up immersed in the deep well of traditional songs that have been her inspiration for over 35 years of recording and performing worldwide.
Widely recognised as the compelling vocals of Scots band Capercaillie with whom she has graced the pop charts and featured in blockbuster movies, her solo career highlights have included sharing the stage with Pete Seeger in New York and performing at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where her stunning rendition of ‘Ae fond kiss’ stole the show to a televised audience of over 600 million people.
Karen has been involved in various profile projects of collaboration worldwide, including the award winning BBC series Transatlantic Sessions, on which she performed and filmed tracks with James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, The McGarrigle Sisters, Nanci Griffith, and a host of respected Scottish musicians. She has featured with many unique world music stars including Algerian singer ‘Idir’, Breton guitarist Dan Ar Braz and Portuguese Fado star Dulce Pontes.
She has released four acclaimed solo albums. For ‘The Dreaming Sea” (1996) & ‘Time to fall” (2004) many of the songs were written by acclaimed singer-songwriter James Grant (Love& Money) and feature the Scottish Ensemble on strings. On “Downriver” from 2010 she worked with Ireland’s legendary producer Donal Lunny to create an award winning acoustic album, which provided the perfect platform for her mesmerizing vocals.
In 2015 she released ‘’Urram’’ (Respect) - a musical love letter to her families’ Hebridean roots, with a collection of timeless Gaelic songs that evoke the character and atmosphere of Island life, through waulking songs, love songs, lullabies, mouth music and evocative poems to the surroundings. The sound of the album is engagingly contemporary in it’s ambition though, with guest musicians including Seiko Keita (Senegal) on African kora, Soumik Datta (India) on Sarod, Scotland’s Mr. McFall’s chamber on strings, Innes White & Sorren MacLean on guitars, and long-term musical partner Donald Shaw on Piano.
‘a showstopper… sublime’ by fROOTS.
With Capercaillie - “the most exciting and vibrant band in the field of Celtic music today” (Billboard), Karen has enjoyed a stellar career. Capercaillie have sold more than a million albums, performed in over thirty countries and written and featured in the Hollywood movie 'Rob Roy', with Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange, in which Karen performed a solo rendition of a Gaelic lament
In December 2010 she was presented with an Honorary degree in music from the Robert Gordon University – another achievement to add to her OBE, and award of “Best Gaelic singer” from the inaugural Scottish folk awards - just some of the many plaudits earned from an astonishing career.
Her long awaited new album ‘Still Time’ will be released in February 2021 on Vertical Records worldwide.
“Karen Matheson has a throat that is surely touched by God’’. - Sean Connery