Musician of the Year 2023

Earlier this month, Julie was named Musician of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2023, at a glittering ceremony which celebrated all aspects of the traditional music world from performance and production to education.

The decision was made by public vote and Julie would very much like to thank every single person who took the time to vote!

New single – out today – and BBC Radio 4

‘Who Is This?’ is a song shaped and inspired by the Cuillin (An Cuilithionn) mountains on the Isle of Skye. The Cuillin are the shattered remains of the magma chamber of an immense volcano complex which was active around 60 million years ago. Born of fire and then shaped by ice, they now form a jagged, continuous ridge of tops, razor-edge ridges, scree-and boulder-fields, running for twelve kilometres, comprising twenty-two peaks, and involving over 4000 metres of ascent and descent, much of it technical.

In June this year, Robert Macfarlane (The Old Ways, Mountains of the Mind, The Lost Words) set out to attempt the mountaineering traverse of the Cuillin Ridge over two days, in the company of radio producer Helen Needham and guide Rich Parker. From the beginning of the journey — when Rob received a spontaneous gift from someone who had come to the Cuillin with the ashes of her father — the mountains surprised, amazed and challenged the group.

After returning, Rob worked with his friend and collaborator Julie Fowlis on a song about the range. Lines and images that Rob had jotted down while on the Ridge formed a basis for the song’s lyrics, which Julie shaped and set to music.  She worked on the song with brilliant musician Donald Shaw, who beautifully arranged the song for the Clockwork Sessions strings, conducted by Adam Robinson, and the track also features renowned fiddler Duncan Chisholm.

The title phrase intentionally echoes the refrain from ‘An Cuilithionn 1939’ (‘The Cuillin, 1939’), an epic poem about the mountains (and much more) written by the great Gaelic-language poet Somhairle MacGill-Eain (Sorley MacLean).

‘Who Is This?’ features in the second of the two BBC4 radio programmes that Rob made while on the Ridge, produced by Helen Needham; both available to listen to on BBC Sounds as ‘Crossing the Cuillin Mountains (1 and 2)’.

The song is available to download from today from Julie’s store and you can also stream here.

US Tour 2023 and Braemar

Julie is thrilled to announce a short run of the dates in the US this October.  Starting in Daytona, FL and finishing in beautiful Davis, California, the tour will include shows in Vermont, Pennsylvania,  and South Carolina.  See the tour page for full details.  Spread the word!  She would love to see you at one of the shows.

In addition, Julie’s show in Braemar on September 1st has now SOLD OUT.  This is promising to be a special night in the beautiful setting of St Margaret’s Church on the outskirts of the Cairngorms National Park (Pàirc Nàiseanta a’ Mhonaidh Ruaidh).

New dates for 2023

Julie is delighted to announce some new dates for January 2023 – including an exciting co-headliner with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Karine Polwart and Robert Vincent at the beautiful Theatre Royal, Glasgow on January 27th.  She will also be appearing with Le Vent du Nord & Friends for their show on January 28th in the Old Fruitmarket, and will also be joining John McCusker for his special 30th Anniversary concert in the City Halls on Jan 22nd.

Julie and Karine will join forces again on January 29th as special guests of the mighty Kinnaris Quintet for their Burns and Beyond show in Edinburgh.  All dates with ticketing links listed on the tour page.

An exciting start to 2023!

New digital EP release: Source to Sea

Julie is delighted to release new music today.  Composed for the radio and podcast series Source to Sea, this three-track digital EP leads with the single ‘Silver in the Blue’ a song which Julie wrote for Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham’s journey to COP26, following the River Clyde.
Inspired by water journeys and nature’s rhythms, this particular track features Éamon Doorley, Kris Drever and Euan Burton.  You can purchase the digital EP (MP3s or high def audio) directly from Julie at…/digital-downloads/ or you can listen through this link
The beautiful artwork was created by Seth Tinsley Illustration ✨
Thank you to Tandem Productions, Lee Craigie, Jenny Graham and the The Adventure Syndicate and of course to  the #AudioContentFund for commissioning this and supporting the creation of new music.

Julie to play Cambridge Folk Festival 2022

Julie is absolutely delighted to be returning to the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022, for not one but two performances – one with her own band and another with the incredible Spell Songs crew.  It’s promises to be a cracker of a weekend, with some brilliant names on the bill and more to be announced.  For line-up and ticketing information, see here.


Assassins Creed Valhalla

Announcing Julie’s involvement in the new expansion to the Ubisoft game Assassins Creed Valhalla, Wrath of the Druids, which has just been released. Julie spent time last year collaborating with renowned musician and composer Einar Selvik to create songs for the game soundtrack.

You can watch the trailer here

and the full album soundtrack has also been released worldwide on Lakeshore Records

Full Album:

Buy link:

Announcing new collaboration with Hawktail

Julie is thrilled to announce a musical collaboration with the incredible band Hawktail
as part of the new Folk Alliance International Artists In (Their) Residence project in partnership with Chris Thile.
This project matches ten US based artists with musicians from Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ireland, Israel, Scotland and Spain to raise awareness for The Village Fund, a grant program for artists and industry members in need.
The collaboration will be shared in the summer, but in the meantime have a listen to the first release in this series – the gorgeous sounds of Rose Cousins and John Paul White

New merchandise range announced

Julie has launched a new range of merchandise today! Cosy organic hoodies, ocean blue organic and vegan friendly t-shirts and funky retro ringer tees – all of which have the ‘alterum’ insignia.  All garments have been carefully and ethically sourced, and there is also now an opportunity to purchase a high-definition download of alterum with an item of clothing at a special bundle price.

All garments are unisex, and sizing guides can be found on the shop.  Thanks for supporting independent musicians!

An Gealladh / The Promise

Julie is delighted to be involved in this beautiful project – The Promise.  Written by Nicola Davies, with illustrations by Laura Carlin, Julie was invited to read the Gaelic version of this powerful story which examines our connection to nature and the importance of green spaces in our urban landscapes.  It is a story of hope for change, and also includes readings of the Acorn poem by Robert Macfarlane with accompanying music from the Lost Words Spell Songs.

For educators – there are resources available here:

A’ Ghàidhlig le Raghnaid Sandilands.  Nach sgaoil sibh an naidheachd?

The thoughtful Gaelic translation is by Raghnaid Sandilands. Please share the story, and enjoy!