The Sound Cafe
Shetland Singer-Songwriter Freda Leask Returns With New Single 'Ghost Notes'
Shetland singer-songwriter Freda Leask returns with this Rootsy, Americana track 'Ghost Notes.’ This original material brings together Freda’s emotive and melodic song with the beautifully crafted accompaniment of the Scottish award-winning singer-songwriter and
multi-instrumentalist, Kris Drever.
The second release in a series of 8 originals written by Freda Leask which have been produced and accompanied by Kris Drever. The initial single, ‘Magdalene,’ received air-play across Scotland, Canada, America and further afield and is available on platforms listed.
Ghost Notes took to the stage recently at The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow as part of the Celtic Connections 2022 programme, featuring a stunning line-up of some of Scotland’s best known folk musicians, as well as Kris Drever and Freda themselves.
A fitting song for the centre-piece concert: ‘Shetland 550: Norn Voices,’ as the lyrics are loosely inspired by nordic skies and ‘the Northern Lights’ or ‘Aurora Borealis’. The accompanying ‘Ghost Notes’ Video shows spectacular footage of this phenomenon, all filmed in the hills around Freda’s island home.
Freda Leask’s work varies from folk songs inspired by Shetland’s environment, history and rich dialect, to compositions with a more Rootsy, Americana style. Known for her work with Shetland’s influential harmony group ‘Shoormal,’ in the 90s/00s, Freda now also performs as a solo artist. A keen collaborator, with a love of harmony, drawing influence from authentic country, folk music and gospel.
Freda became involved in gospel music during her 20s and, with a keen interest in vocal harmonies, this contributed greatly to her later work with the Shetland folk group ‘Shoormal.’
She established ‘Shoormal’ in 1997. A Shetland dialect word for 'where the shore meets the sea’ - a place of constant change. Members of ‘Shoormal’ ebbed and flowed' over the years - all were native to Shetland but came from a variety of musical eras and influences. The band had a strong focus on vocal harmony and intricate instrumental arrangement and, within a decade, they had produced 3 albums of original material. 'Indigo Skies' (2000), on their own label, which earned them a nomination for Best Newcomer 2001 on Mike Harding's Folk on 2. Migrant (2003) and Turning Tide (2006) were released under the Scottish Folk label 'Greentrax.' Since then ‘Shoormal’ has had extensive airplay and received international recognition, touring briefly and taking part in the Folk Alliance in Austin, Texas.
In 2008 Freda co-ordinated the very successful Shetland Christmas Card/CD, promoted by Scottish-based Beacon Music. This involved many great Shetland singers and musicians in contributing to a traditional carol compilation which remains a firm seasonal favourite.
Collaborations, have included: Appalachian Fiddler, Bruce Molsky, award-winning Orcadian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kris Drever (Lau), the Shetland fiddle super-group Fiddler's Bid, fantastic Shetland guitarists Brian Nicholson, Arthur Nicholson, Norman Goudie, (Girsie) and Trevor Smith.
She has made frequent appearances with well-known Shetland singers Jenny Keldie and Sheila Henderson and has supported top-class acts like Gretchen Peters, Kim Richey, Roddy Woomble, Yola Carter, The Sojourners and Adam Holmes.