The Diary of Julie Fowlis

The Diary of Julie Fowlis

Julie Fowlis is a singer from North Uist, a small island in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Singing primarily in Scottish Gaelic, her third album, Uam, meaning ‘from me’, was released on the Spit & Polish label (Glagow) in Europe in October and will be released in the United States and Canada in March 2010. Best known as a soloist, Fowlis also performs with the Scottish group Dòchas. In 2008, the same year in which she received the BBC 2 Folk Singer of the Year award, she released a Scottish–Irish collaboration, Dual, with singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, guitarist Ross Martin and bouzouki-player and husband Éamon Doorley.


Skiing from the top of the Ptarmigan or the Coire na Ciste runs on the Cairngorm Mountains. Quietly contemplating the peace and stillness at the top of the mountain for a moment, then taking off and feeling the cold wind in your face and the snow and hard packed ice underneath your skis as you race your way to the foot of the mountain. Exhilarating, frightening, challenging, invigorating, enlivening. There is no better way to spend a winter’s day in the Highlands of the Scotland.

A strong, quiet Island gentleman. A tall, hard- working man with a sharp tongue and a million stories. A man with a knowledge of the land, the sea and the elements that would still beat modern scientific knowledge and methods today. An uncle who would sit and tell a young me tall stories at the kitchen table, whilst peeling potatoes to eat. He would add salt – enough so that you could see your bite marks in them. The salt didn’t affect him that badly in the long run: he lived until his mid-eighties.

The car journeys usually involve long, in-depth chats about every subject under the sun, tea-stops, car games and Buchanan’s Chocolate Toffees. The last time I travelled the road to the Highlands in the wee small hours of the morning (my ever patient husband Éamon driving), I sang all the way home to try and stay awake. I can be quite an annoying passenger sometimes.

I trust my parents completely. They are the type of people who are always there for me and my younger sister Michelle – who put family before everything else and who are always around or at the end of the phone to chat, offer advice, solve a crisis or just remind you exactly how to make a good scone and not burn it.

I am a real dreamer. I dream every night and remember most of them. I dream about people I know, people I don’t know, things that I have done and weird things I would never do. I dream about family, friends and casual acquaintances. I have an over-active mind during the day that doesn’t seem to stop at night – even when I am seemingly in a deep restful sleep. I wonder what that says about me?

Published on 1 December 2009

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