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Jean Redpath

Blessed with a sweet but slightly roughened mezzo-soprano as gentle as mist and haunting as the highlands, Jean Redpath was one of the definitive interpreters of Scottish traditional songs. She was also a noted folk music ethnographer who played an important role in the reconstruction of nearly forgotten Scottish songs and was a lecturer at Scotland's Stirling University since 1979, and also lectured regularly at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and other prominent institutions, including Harvard.

She was born in fife country outside Edinburgh. Her father played hammered dulcimer, and her mother was well versed in Scottish oral history, most of which was passed from mother to daughter via songs. One of four daughters, their mother passed on the music to each. Her knowledge of the ancient songs proved useful while Redpath was attending the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh and had begun formal research into her native ballads and compositions.

In 1961 she immigrated to New York, where she began singing in Greenwich Village coffeehouses. Redpath also gave formal concerts at events such as the Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and soon became an extremely popular performer on the folk circuit. Not only did they love her unique, sensitive voice, audiences were also impressed by her knowledge about the over 400 songs in her repertoire and the fascinating insights about the music that Redpath offered during her concerts.

In 1963 she sang for the first time at the New School for Social Research and this led her to sign with Elektra, where she recorded through 1975, when she switched to the Vermont-based Philo label. With them she became one of folk music's most prolific recording artists. One of her most notable achievements was an ongoing project to record all of the songs written by Scotland's poet laureate Robert Burns. Out of 22 planned volumes, only seven were completed due to the death of producer Serge Hovey. Other well-known Redpath series include a compilation of Scottish songs written by women, including Lady Nairne (1986).

In addition to recording and performing live, Redpath also appeared on such radio programs as Morning Pro Musica on Boston's WGBH public radio station. Between 1974 and 1987 Redpath was also a regular on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show. In August 2014 she died from cancer at a hospice in Arizona at the age of 77. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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Beautifully poignant.
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freddeeg
Awesome!
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garrickconne c t i o n
Jean has now breathed her last but her voice will live on......
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"Leaving Lerwick Harbour" Is really breath taking.
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celticheartu s
The first time I heard her sing, she took my breath. I was an instant fan.
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This is like listening to Scotland sing me a song. I love Jean Redpath. ^_^
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Great music.
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dianadyermsr d
The very first time I played a full record (yes vinyl) of Jean Redpath back in the early 80's, my 5 year old son stood transfixed and after listening to several cuts, turned to me and said Mom, I know all this music. Yes, Jean Redpath's music and voice awakens the Scottish heritage, no matter how many generations removed from Scotland.
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llinde36
I heard Jean Redpath on " Prairie Home Companion" singing as she stated it, "A five tissue song"-and the song did move me greatly.Now with a CD by her and hearing her clear, true voice I have learned to love the music of my Scottish ancestors.I would like to hear her duet with Andy Stewart of "Silly Wizard"(anot h e r favorite).
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A voice that echos a beautiful past of scottish songs that brings joy
to my heart.
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madrigalshih t z u
Who writes these bios???? "Roughened". . . . t h e r e is nothing about Jean Redpath's voice that could even vaguely be construed as "roughened". . . . r e a l l y . . . . h e r voice is always lovely, smooth and totally in sync with the Scottish traditions from she springs. Her performance of "Handsome Harry" is just exquisite... .
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You need to locate her long ago album, 'Laddie Lie Near Me'. No one can touch her talent or voice.
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d.kimbell
Just heard her this past weekend on Prairie Home Companion. She sang a song that hasn't been yet recorded by her called "Some Kind Of Love"....sur e hope she records it. I notice Kate Wolf has a version of it, though.
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One of the only people who should be allowed to sing Burns..she's a mainstay of my collection
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"Now I`m easy" is a wonderful song by Jean Redpath,she has a haunting voice that seems to stick with you for a long time,great talent,play more of her songs..Thank s Pandora

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