Isla Ratcliff is a Scottish musician who works in numerous musical genres and practices. She is a Scottish traditional fiddle player, Scots singer, songwriter and composer, with a background in classical violin and piano. Her work is underpinned by her passions for music’s positive impact on our wellbeing and for Scottish cultural politics.
Isla has performed at Celtic Connections, Cambridge Folk Festival and Sidmouth Folkweek. She toured China with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland in 2015, played a trad duet with Nicola Benedetti in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall aged 13, and busked from Moscow to Zeebrugge aged 11. She writes her own songs and has scored music for two short films and two theatre productions. Her song ‘Death Row’, inspired by the case of Troy Davis, won the lyrics category of Amnesty International’s Power Of Our Voices protest songwriting competition in 2013. As a community music practitioner, she has worked with vulnerable children, people with dementia, people with disabilities and young parents.
Isla is an alumna of the City of Edinburgh Music School and of Oxford University, where she gained a First Class BA Music degree. She is currently studying a Masters degree in Scottish traditional music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
“a promising musician full of dedication and seriousness” – Nicola Benedetti, classical violinist
“a natural performer” – Peter Markham, classical violinist
“her performance is compelling – a chilling lament for a life lost that brings to mind Billie Holliday’s classic ‘Strange Fruit'” – Dan Jones, Amnesty International
“an elegant and stylish performer...who plays from the heart" - Competition Adjudicator
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- Colin & Katya
- Wildhood Festival
- Fèis Rois National Cèilidh Trial 2017
- Fèis Rois Gaelic National Cèilidh Trail 2018
- National Youth Orchestra of Scotland
- Edinburgh Youth Orchestra
- Oxford University Cèilidh Band
- Oh (film soundtrack)
- They Don't (film soundtrack)
- 'Another Life I Lived' (theatrical soundtrack for StraightFace Theatre's production of Enda Walsh's Ballyturk)
- 'The Truth' (theatrical soundtrack for Univ Players' production of Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector)
- 'Bundle' (Emerging Artist Bursary to lead songwriting project with Starcatchers)