Karen Matheson

Karen Matheson OBE (born 11 February 1963) is a Scottish folk singer who frequently sings in Gaelic. She is the lead singer of the group Capercaillie and was a member of Dan Ar Braz's group L'Héritage des Celtes, with whom she often sang lead vocals, either alone or with Elaine Morgan. She and Morgan sang together on the Breton language song "Diwanit Bugale", the French entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1996. She made a cameo appearance in the 1995 movie Rob Roy singing the song "Ailein duinn".

Karen Matheson
Matheson performing with Capercaillie in 2013
Matheson performing with Capercaillie in 2013
Background information
Birth nameKaren Matheson
Born (1963-02-11) 11 February 1963 (age 59)
Taynuilt, Argyll, Scotland
Years active1980s–present


She grew up in the small village of Taynuilt in the region of Argyll, western Scotland. She was appointed an OBE in the 2006 New Year's honours list. Matheson also appeared as a guest musician on Spirit of the West's 1997 album Weights and Measures. Matheson performed a solo in Secret Garden's song "Prayer" in the 1999 album Dawn of a New Century. She is married to fellow Capercaillie member Donald Shaw, and they have a son.

On 2 February 2010, Matheson made an appearance on Celtic Woman 4, then on 16 October 2015, Karen Matheson released her fourth solo album, Urram, on Vertical Records.[1] In support of the new album, Karen Matheson planned 7 shows in Scotland in December 2015 and January 2016[nb 1],[2][3] one show in January in Dublin, Ireland[nb 2][3] and 5 shows in the UK in February 2016 (as part of the Transatlantic Sessions)[nb 3].

On her official web site, Karen Matheson announced in March 2016 that she would embark on an 11-date Spring 2016 UK tour, visiting mainly Scotland, starting on 15 April 2016 in Perth, Scotland and ending on 18 June 2016 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.[4][nb 4].

Karen Matheson announced on 1 July 2016 that she would perform one show on 19 July 2016 at Ionad Cois Locha, Dún Lúiche, Ireland, together with long-time friends and music partners Donald Shaw and Manus Lunny (both from Capercaillie), during the Trad Trathnona ("Trad Afternoon"), County Donegal's Summer of traditional Sessions (to occur each Tuesday in July & August).[5][non-primary source needed]

After performing two shows on 26 & 28 August 2016 at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Karen Matheson would embark on a 9-date Autumn 2016 UK tour due to start on 15 September at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, UK and to end on 29 September at Bush Hall in London, UK.

On 12 February 2021, Karen Matheson released her fifth solo album.[6]

On 12th September 2022, Karen Matheson sang a Gaelic psalm at the Service of Thanksgiving for the late Queen Elizabeth II, at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, which was attended by HM King Charles III and other members of the Royal Family. The Queen’s coffin lay in state at the cathedral during the service and until 5 pm the following day.

Solo discographyEdit


  1. ^ 7 Karen Matheson shows in December 2015 and January 2016: in Edinburgh on 18 & 19 December at The Queen's Hall (as part of the Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook with Phil Cunningham, Eddi Reader, Kris Drever, John McCusker, Ian Carr & Kevin McGuire),[2] in Aberdeen on 21 December at the Aberdeen Music Hall (as part of the Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook),[2] in Glasgow on 22 December at the City Halls (as part of the Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook), on 29 & 31 January at the Royal Concert Hall (as part of the Transatlantic Sessions at Celtic Connections), on 30 January at the City Halls (with Nolwenn Leroy as part of Celtic Connections).
  2. ^ 1 Karen Matheson show in Dublin, Ireland in January 2016: on 27 January at St Patrick's Cathedral during Tradfest 2016 along with Pauline Scanlon and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh on the occasion of a celebration of the life, music and legacy of the seminal Irish singer Eithne Ní Uallacháin.
  3. ^ 5 Karen Matheson shows in the UK in February 2016: on 1 February in London (at the Royal Festival Hall), on 2 February in Birmingham (at the Symphony Hall), on 3 February in Gateshead (at The Sage Gateshead), on 4 February in Manchester (at Bridgewater Hall), on 5 February in Derry (at Millennium Forum Theatre).[2]
  4. ^ 11 Karen Matheson shows in the UK in Spring 2016: on 15 April 2016 at Horsecross Theatre & Concert Hall in Perth, Scotland (along with famous Irish Celtic band Altan, as part of The Celtic Sessions 2016),[2] on 30 April at the KG5 Sports Field in Portree, on 14 May at the Mossfield Stadium in Oban, on 1 June at the Universal Hall in Forres, on 2 June at the Tolbooth in Stirling, on 3 June at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh, on 4 June at the Maryhill Community Central Hall in Glasgow, on 12 June at the Eden Court in Inverness, on 16 June at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, on 17 June at the Pavilion Arts Centre in Buxton, on 18 June 2016 at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy.


  1. ^ "Urram (Respect) by Karen Matheson". Vertical Records / verticalrecords.co.uk. 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "5 Karen Matheson Tour Dates". ents24.com. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Karen Matheson – Tour Dates 2015". bandsintown.com. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Karen Matheson > Live". karenmatheson.com. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Trad Trathnóna Iúil 19 July Karen Matheson Donald Shaw Manus Lunny". Facebook. June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Still Time by Karen Matheson". karenmatheson.bandcamp.com. May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

External linksEdit