Scotland

Scottish folk singer Jean Redpath dies

  • 22 August 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Jean Redpath
Jean Redpath was a champion of Scottish folk music with an international reputation

The Scottish singer Jean Redpath has died. She was 77 and in an Arizona hospice.

A huge champion of Scottish folksongs, she moved to the US as a young woman.

She performed alongside Bob Dylan and was a regular on Garrison Keillor's radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

She spent a decade as a lecturer in Scottish folksong at Stirling University, as well as performing in venues across the world.

Tributes have been paid by other musicians, artists and friends.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Scottish singer and songwriter Sheena Wellington described Redpath as the "foremost ambassador for Scottish traditional song for more than 50 years".

She said: "She researched and brought back lots of songs that had been lost in the midst of time, and just performed with such grace and such humour as well. She was incredibly funny on stage."

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International renown

Pauline McLean, BBC Scotland Arts correspondent

Born in Edinburgh, but brought up in Fife, Jean Redpath had a life long fascination with Scottish music.

Inspired by the archive Hamish Henderson was building during her studies at Edinburgh University, she arrived in the US as a young woman ready to share the 400 traditional songs she had learned.

Her first performance was in San Francisco in 1961, but she moved east to Greenwich Village where she shared a flat with Bob Dylan, performing alongside him in the city's thriving folk scene.

She was a regular on Garrison Keillor's radio show A Prairie Home Companion, a lecturer at the University of Stirling for more than a decade, and a performer of international renown.

She received an MBE for her services to music.

She was recently diagnosed with cancer and died in a hospice in Arizona earlier today.

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Ms Wellington said Redpath did a "wonderful job in America" bringing Scottish folk music to audiences there.

She added: "It struck a chord. People realised this music wasn't unlike their own and they could see the roots of it.

"Jean was an incredibly hard worker. She just had that gift. She would walk on stage and smile at the audience and that was it, they were won over.

"She believed implicitly in what she was doing and she had huge respect for her own material and huge respect for the musicians and singers who worked with her."