The name 'Hallival' is taken after one of the mountains on the Isle of Rum, which inspired the writing for the opening track 'Western Tidal Swell'. Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis, amongst others, selected 'Western Tidal Swell' to win Feis Rois'/NatureScots' In Tune With Nature competition in 2020.
With Andy Bell on production, Iona and her band ventured to Watercolour Music (Ardgour, Highlands) for a week of recording in April 2020. The studio was chosen due to it's stunning location - every day the team woke up to herds of deers guarding the studio, ever changing weather and phenomenal views over to Ben Nevis 'Hallival'.
The lead single from the album 'Humankind', featuring Jenny Sturgeon on backing vocals, was written from the depths of the Lake District in Wasdale just before the first lockdown. Being the closing track on the album, it reflects on how important humans are to each other and the kindness that we can bring particularly whilst feeling isolated, a feeling that we all know too well after the past couple of years.
'Schiehallion' was written after discovering the Schiehallion Experiment that was carried out in 1774. During the experiment scientists from the Royal Society used the shape and location of Schiehallion to calculate the mass of the Earth for the first time. After a summer of calculations on the hill, the scientists and locals had a party in a nearby bothy. The fiddler got so drunk that they burnt their violin and the bothy to the ground. 'Schiehallion' features Lauren MacColl on fiddle and Rachel Newton on harp.
Stemmed from being read 'Stone Girl Bone Girl, The Life of Mary Anning' by Laurence Ann Holt as a child, Iona's song 'Mary Anning' focuses on the life of the groundbreaking paleontologist who lived and worked in Lyme Regis in the 1800s. Mary made vast contributions to the scientific world, however, due to her being a woman she was unable to present her findings and would often end up selling them to her male colleagues. Up until very recently Mary Anning has had little credit for her work.
Having studied under the tuition of Nancy Kerr, Jim Moray and Stuart McCallum, Iona has been praised throughout the scene for her delicate yet powerful vocals, which have captivated audiences up and down the country.
Iona was chosen by Karine Polwart to receive the Taran Guitars Young Players Bursary 2020. Since receiving the bursary luthier Rory Dowling, of Taran Guitars, has designed and built a bespoke instrument for Iona's music.
- Western Tidal Swell
- Mary Anning
- Tipalt Burn
- May You Find Time
- Fingal & Bran
- The Poet & The Painter
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