‘Staran' are a new collective featuring Kim Carnie, John Lowrie, Jack Smedley, Innes White and James Lindsay.
Some of the most sought-after artists on the Scottish folk scene have come together to create a formidable collective. Entitled Staran, the group released their eponymous debut album in May 2021. ‘Staran’, meaning path, trail or stepping stones in Gaelic, reflects the themes of ‘places’ and ‘moments’ that run through their music. The result of this collaboration is a rich and cohesive sound; atmospheric and textural with acoustic instruments at the heart of it.
Comprising a group of established musicians in their own right, this collective is a meeting of musical minds that traverses a diverse range of styles and backgrounds. While the overall sound is rooted in Scottish traditional music, there are undoubtedly elements of inspiration from the genres of jazz, minimalism and experimental electronica.
“...a lush, richly textured delight, with mandolins and pianos creating a resonant world against which Gaelic singer Kim Carnie’s voice and Jack Smedley’s heartbreaking fiddle take flight” The Guardian
“...a stunning debut, a collage of creativity, a multi-textured triumph of technology and ingenuity” FATEA
“...an air of refinement and a genuine transcendent quality” At The Barrier
Kim is one of the most exciting Gaelic singers of her generation and commands the stage with unmistakable charm.
Kim has performed extensively across the UK, having made appearances at Cambridge, Orkney and Sidmouth folk festivals as well as Celtic Connections, where, in 2018, she performed a televised concert, celebrating the ‘crème de la crème of Contemporary Gaelic singers,’ highlighting Carnie’s effortless ability to deliver a poignant vocal in a performance elevated only by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. In 2020, she became a member of leading Gaelic band Mànran.
No stranger to the screen, Kim is also a TV presenter in high demand and the host of Na Trads, Scotland’s Traditional Music Awards.
Photo credit: Iain MacLeod
(piano, rhodes, harmonium, percussion)
John is one of the most in demand freelance musicians working in Scotland. Since graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013, he has emerged as a leading figure in the Scottish music scene for his work in a wide range of musical genres.
As a drummer and pianist, John has toured and recorded with some of the UK’s most respected artists including Siobhan Miller, Kris Drever, Phil Bancroft, Paul Towndrow, Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, Hannah Rarity, Blue Rose Code and Adam Holmes.
Photo credit: Lieve Boussauw
Jack Smedley is a sought after fiddle player and session musician. A founding member of the award winning folk act, RURA Jack has toured extensively across the globe, regularly featuring at some of the biggest international festivals along the way.
Steeped in traditional music as a youngster, Jack has always maintained a love of music from Scotland and further afield. Originally from Cullen on Scotland’s Banffshire coast, Jack moved to Glasgow in 2008 to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Known for his versatility, Jack has taken to the stage across the world with a number of the folk scene’s best-known names.
Jack has featured as a session artist on numerous recordings and albums and regularly collaborates with RURA member David Foley, with whom he recently released a duo album ‘Time to Fly’. In 2013 Jack founded the Fochabers Fiddle Week, an education event for young fiddle players from the Moray region. The fiddle week has been a huge success and now in its 8th year is an important fixture in the local calendar.
Photo credit: Dee Christensen
(acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, tenor guitar)
Growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, Innes White has been immersed in traditional music from a young age. As well as being a native Gaelic speaker, his early experiences of music through his strong family heritage and the Fèis movement provided the bedrock for his professional career to flourish. White is one of the most sought-after multi-instrumentalists in the UK, having recorded on over 30 albums and toured extensively throughout the UK and abroad playing guitar and mandolin, with occasional appearances on piano, bouzouki and vocals.
He earned a nomination as ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in 2016 and went on to create a New Voices commission at Celtic Connections in 2018 which saw him perform original material with an 8-piece band. He collaborates frequently with artists such as John McCusker, Karen Matheson, Eddi Reader, Heidi Talbot and Siobhan Miller.
Photo credit: Louise Bichan
James Lindsay is a composer and instrumentalist who pushes the boundaries of Scottish folk, contemporary jazz, and experimental rock music. His writing seamlessly blends diverse styles, merging traditional instrumentation and tune forms with contemporary harmony, abstract rhythm, and the freedom of improvisation. As well as playing double bass full time with the award-winning Scottish contemporary-folk band Breabach, James achieved critical acclaim as a solo composer for his debut album Strand. His latest release, Torus, continues his trajectory of experimentation in folk music, taking a kaleidoscopic look at contemporary Scottish music. Originally from rural Aberdeenshire, James now resides in Glasgow.
Photo credit: Paul Jennings
Band photo by Samuel Hurt, edit & overlays by Elly Lucas