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Huntly folk-singer celebrates major achievement for Scots language on global music platform

By Pat Scott

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Iona Fyfe led a successful campaign to have Scots language listed by Spotify
Iona Fyfe led a successful campaign to have Scots language listed by Spotify

HUNTLY's award-winning folksinger Iona Fyfe is celebrating a major achievement - off stage.

Ms Fyfe led a successful campaign to get Spotify to add Scots to its list of languages.

Spotify is an online digital music service that gives subscribers access to millions of songs.

In December, she received widespread public support for an open-letter to Spotify asking them to give Scots the same recognition as other UK minority languages including Manx, Irish Gaelic, Cornish, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic.

Scots is one of Scotland's three national languages and in the 2011 census had over 1.5 million speakers. It is recognised as a language by the European Charter for Minority Languages.

Ms Fyfe said: "Despite Spotify listing every other UK Minority Languages, Scots was omitted. My music has been incorrectly categorised as English for several years."

Ms Fyfe grew up speaking Doric and has released most of her music in Scots.

She studied for a degree in Scots Song at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and won the title of Scots Performer of the Year at the Scots Language Awards in 2020.

Her campaign received the support of Clare Adamson MSP, a long-time advocate of Scots Language preservation, who lodged a Parliamentary motion in the Scottish Parliament in support of the campaign to have Scots included as a listed language on Spotify and wrote to Daniel EK, CEO of Spotify USA Inc.

In February, Ms Fyfe represented Scotland at the Folk Alliance International showcases, held virtually and during an industry panel session, she discussed with Laura Ohls, a senior executive at Spotify the omission of the Scots language.

Despite a three month delay from her original letter, Spotify have now added the language to its database.

Ms Fyfe added: “It is a big step forward to be able to pressure a global company to change their language policy and add Scots as a language. Being able to categorise my songs under the correct language of Scots means so much to me, and many other singers. Once we achieve a Scots Language Act, then the legislation will place responsibility on other companies to correctly recognise the language.”

To celebrate Spotify adding Scots as a language, Ms Fyfe has curated a playlist of her own favourite songs in the Scots Language and today (March 5) is releasing her new single, The Wild Geese available on every platform, and significantly categorised as Scots on Spotify.

Ms Fyfe, was set to have a busy 2020, touring the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and America, but all of her live performances was cancelled due to the pandemic.

She has been working voluntarily as communications officer for Oor Vyce, an organisation campaigning for a Scots Language Act as Scots is not recognised legally as an official language by the Scottish Parliament and does not benefit from the protection and promotion that other UK minority languages enjoy.

The playlist can be found at: https://bit.ly/scotssang and the new single at https://threads.lnk.to/ifgeese

Scotland. She won the title of Scots Performer of the Year at the Scots Language Awards in 2020.

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