Aidan O'Rourke (musician)

Aidan O'Rourke (born 1975)[1] is a Scottish contemporary folk music fiddle player and composer. He was named the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year[2] and the Scots Trad Music Awards 2011 Composer of the Year.[3] In addition to his solo career, O'Rourke also plays in the award-winning folk trio Lau alongside Kris Drever and Martin Green. He was one of 20 musicians commissioned for New Music 20x12 by PRS for Music Foundation to celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics.[4] O'Rourke has worked with Eddi Reader, Andy Sheppard, Alyth, Roddy Woomble and appears on more than eighty recordings. Previously, he was a member of Blazin' Fiddles, The Unusual Suspects and Tabache.

O'Rourke in 2019, photographed by Genevieve Stevenson

Early life and careerEdit

O'Rourke grew up in a musical family in Oban and later on the nearby island of Seil. He is of Scottish/Irish parentage and grew up listening to traditional songs from both countries.[5] He studied civil engineering at Strathclyde University. After university he moved to Edinburgh in 1998 and joined Blazin' Fiddles in the same year.[6] O'Rourke has also been a member of such groups as Tabache, Sunhoney, and Lau, and has guested on dozens of albums by other artists.[5][7]

Sirius, O'Rourke's debut solo album, was released in 2006. It contains a fusion of folk, jazz, and drum and bass sounds inspired by traditional Scottish, Danish, and Irish music.[7] He released An Tobar in 2008. The album, dedicated to an arts center of the same name on the Isle of Mull, consists of five songs rooted in Celtic music but often displaying a "progressive twist".[8] The song "Tobar Nan Ealain", which Allmusic writer Chris Nickson calls the album's "centerpiece", begins with a poem from Aonghas MacNeacail and features guest vocals by Kirsty MacKinnon.[8]

O'Rourke was commissioned to write a piece for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He told PRS for Music that the composition "draws inspiration from the fact that TAT-1 (Transatlantic No. 1) the first transatlantic telephone cable system was laid between Gallanach Bay, near Oban and Clarenville, Newfoundland between 1955 and 1956."[9] O'Rourke released his third solo album, Hotline, in 2013,[10] and he was named Musician of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.[11]



  • Sirius (2006)
  • An Tobar (2008)
  • Hotline (2013)

With LauEdit

With KanEdit

  • Sleeper (2015)

The Unusual SuspectsEdit

  • Live in Scotland (2005)
  • Big Like This (2011)


  • Are You Willing? (1996)
  • Waves of Rush (1999)


  1. ^ Wilson, Eleanor (3 January 2012). "'Aidan O'Rourke". NMC Recordings.
  2. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, 2014 - Winners". Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Scots Trad Music Awards – 2011 winners". M Magazine. PRS for Music. 5 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Olympic Music Commissions". The Guardian. 10 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b Shepherd, Fiona (11 December 2008). "CD Review: King of the strings". The Scotsman. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  6. ^ Fulton, Rick (7 February 2014). "Scots fiddler Aidan O'Rourke tells of joy at being nominated for two prizes in Folk Awards at Royal Albert Hall". Daily Record.
  7. ^ a b Nickson, Chris. "'Sirius' Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b Nickson, Chris. "'An Tobar' Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Aidan O'Rourke, commissioned by An Tobar - The Tobermory Arts Centre". PRS for Music. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  10. ^ Fulton, Rick (7 February 2014). "Scots fiddler Aidan O'Rourke tells of joy at being nominated for two prizes in Folk Awards at Royal Albert Hall". Daily Record. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  11. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards honour The Full English and fiddler Aidan O'Rourke". The Strad. 20 February 2014. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • Stone, Chris (2012). "Tradition and creativity: the roots and routes of fiddler Aidan O'Rourke". In Russell, Ian; Goertzen, Chris (eds.). [Routes & Roots: Fiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic 4]. Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen. ISBN 978-0-9545682-7-6.

External linksEdit