Kaela Rowan

Scottish singer songwriter Kaela Rowan sings with her own combo, The Kaela Rowan Band and Shooglenifty. Kaela sings in Scots, Gaelic and English. She loves to sing puirt à beul or mouth music.


“Wrapping a warm balm of sound around your troubles”
      Tim Carroll, Folk Words

– Divya Bhatia, Jodhpur Riff

"We book a lot of extremely talented bands playing Scottish and Irish traditional material but the Kaela Rowan Band has something special. It's a unique musical approach that is fresh and vibrant, yet totally respectful to the source material. The song arrangements are innovative and moving, but the real star of the show is Kaela's voice. No one juxtaposes power and fragility to such a captivating degree"
– Douglas Robertson, Soundhouse

Although she has been a singer since her teens and fronted many bands, Kaela Rowan's solo career began in earnest in 2014 with the release of her first self-penned album Menagerie. Her second album, The Fruited Thorn, saw her return to the songs she learned growing up in the Scottish Highlands. Singing in Gaelic, Scots and English, she takes the listener on a tour of some of the finest Scots and Irish ballads, arranged in a unique style that is both respectful and innovative. It also features the first recordings from her collaboration with Rajasthani singer Dayam Khan Manganiyar, a partnership that began in 2012 with Kaela's first trip to the Jodhpur Riff festival. She has since performed with Dayam in Rajasthan in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and was delighted that he was able to travel to Glasgow in 2017 to perform with her at Celtic Connections.

Kaela and Dayam will record together again in 2017.

Kaela Rowan began her career in folk bands and playing sessions and festivals around her home in the Scottish Highlands. Citing an eclectic range of early influences – John Martyn, Planxty and Joni Mitchell, amongst others – Kaela has since forged her own unique path in the Scottish music scene.

She is perhaps best known as lead singer with the influential Scottish band Mouth Music. She recorded four albums with the band and toured globally with them in the 1990s.

Much in demand for her beautiful voice, Kaela has also recorded and performed with Eliza Carthy Band, Karen Matheson, The Mike McGoldrick Band,  Nusa,  Anna Murray, The Loveboat Big Band, The Bevvy Sisters and many more. Most recently she joined Shooglenifty for their acclaimed seventh album The Untied Knot, bringing a dynamic new element to the band's sound. She toured extensively with the Shoogles throughout 2015 and 2016, and will record with the band again in 2017 in India.

Kaela's career highlights (so far) ...

"Singing with the great Dick Gaughan was definitely a real highlight,  seeing as I ate, slept and breathed his  A Handful of Earth album in my early singing days"

"Performing on the main stage at the Woodford Festival in Australia just before the bells on Hogmanay 2014/15 was incredible. The venue is a huge natural amphitheatre in the middle of the Queensland rainforest, and I sang a Gaelic air whilst Bunna Lawrie, an Australian Aboriginal singer and musician, performed an ancient fire ritual in front of a crowd of 40,000 people to bring in the new year, a real honour and such an amazing atmosphere"

"Every one of my trips to Rajasthan has been amazing, from our first performance in 2012, a dawn concert on a dias overlooking the city of Jodphur, from darkness to sunrise, with the city slowly waking below, to Shooglenifty's collaborative main stage concerts with the local manganiyar musicians in 2014 and 2015.

"Our first rehearsal with the Rajasthanis was unforgettable, as when those guys sing or play, they do so with incredible passion, and it's a really powerful, almost overwhelming experience to be sitting in the midst of them in while they're in full swing.

"Looking back to my younger days, just being in a session with the great Glenuig musicians Iain and Allan Macdonald was a pretty special experience"

"Having been a huge fan of his since my Glenuig days,  a total life highlight was meeting James Taylor, and spending a couple of hours blethering with him in a van en route to Edinburgh Airport. To my delight we got stuck in a traffic jam and I had the opportunity to sing some puirt into his left ear"

The Fruited Thorn is Kaela’s second solo album. She released Menagerie in 2014.

 Kaela co-produced The Fruited Thorn with James Mackintosh