Decorated with a series of four star reviews folk chanteuse and harpist Brona McVittie is quietly steering traditional folk into the 21st century with her recently launched debut solo album We Are the Wildlife — a deep reflection on the interconnectedness of things natural and manmade, an album of duality and dichotomy shaped as much by natural sonic patterning as by human patterns of behaviour — inspired by rural and urban scapes alike.
“Electronic music, used judiciously, can serve the folk song well, particularly when it’s teasing out subtler textures in the tradition, noticing the smaller stitches in its seams. This is certainly true of the work of Brona McVittie” says The Guardian who describes her music as “Beautifully embroidered folk with sweetness and bite”; “A rare, and rarefied, beauty” The Independent; “Heavenly” Uncut; and “Timeless” Mojo, the album has aired on BBC6 Music by Gideon Coe and Lauren Laverne; BBC Radio Ulster by Lynette Fay, Eve Blair and Across the Line; and RTE Lyric FM on The Blue of the Night.
As a full-time professional musician Brona is first and foremost a singer. As a trained biologist her self-penned songs are often imbued with elements of the natural world. Drawing her inspiration across a range of styles particularly folk, classical and electronic music, Brona enjoys experimenting with textures from different musical cultures. She has arranged music for many bands and singing groups, and has worked hard over the past few years to improve her production skills. In 2016 she produced 12 singles under the moniker Queen of Corkbots. In 2018 she released her self-produced debut solo LP We Are the Wildlife on her own label The Company of Corkbots.
Brona has spent many years performing her interpretations of traditional songs in various languages on the London circuit and has toured abroad in several bands and duos. In a variety of guises, she has graced the stages of numerous festivals including Glastonbury, Celtic Connections and Cambridge Folk Festival, and has produced music for theatre productions including a performance at London’s Royal Opera House. As founder of the Undercover Folk Club, London’s only themed open-mic – regularly Critics choice in Time Out – she pioneered the folk idiom as a platform for interpreting songs from different musical genres.
She has made music for radio and TV broadcast, and for short films. To date she has recorded seven albums and six EPs with a number of talented musical associates.
If you have an idea for a project, feel free to drop her a line.
Brona teaches music to individuals and groups. She is currently Musical Director of the Mourne Community Choir and provides one-to-one tuition for vocal, clarinet, saxophone and lever-harp. She was musical director for the Oxford Belles a capella group in the 1990s in Oxford and later founded London-based Celtic a capella group Rún in 2007. The group went on to perform at many UK folk festivals including Celtic Connections and Glastonbury; and recorded an EP and LP (see below).
- Debut solo LP We Are the Wildlife (2018) on the Company of Corkbots label
- Double A-side single Under the Pines/Newry Mountain (2017)
- A Tribute to Pauline Oliveros The Last Sense To Leave Us LP (2017) on Rural Colours
- littlebow: Three LP (2016) on Rural Colours
- Queen of Corkbots: Track of the Month project (2016)
- London Lasses The One I Loved the Best LP (2015)
- Rún Sé: Songs from the Six Celtic Nations LP (2011)
- London Lasses By Night & By Day LP (2010)
- Score for The Wake by Sarah Dowling, Battersea Arts Centre (2009), Royal Opera House (2012)
- Rún Beidh Aonach Amárach/There’s a fair tomorrow EP (2009)
- Undercover Folk Club (Founder), London’s only themed open mic (2007-2010)
- The Woodlarks Truth is a Fixed Star EP (2009)
- Rún Seo is suid/This and that EP (2008)
- Forestbrook As the Crow Flies LP (2008)
- Limited edition 10″ vinyl of Ewan MacColl’s Ballad of Accounting as part of ArtAngel arts project (2007)
- The Balance Triptych EP (2004)
- Footnote EP (2003)
- The Balance EP (2000)
Bands, choirs, duos
- littlebow (2015-)
- Queen of Corkbots (2015-)
- London Lasses (Lead vocals, harp: 2008-)
- Rún (Founder and Musical Director; Vocals, harp: 2007-2012)
- The Woodlarks (Vocals, guitar: 2008-2010)
- London Gaelic Choir (Alto: 2006-07)
- Collegium Musicum (Alto: 2005-06)
- Forestbrook (Founder and Songwriter; Lead vocals, multiple instruments: 2004-2008)
- Footnote (Vocals, guitar: 2003-2005)
- The Balance (Founder and Songwriter; Vocals, guitar: 1998-2004)
- Arcadian Singers (Alto: 1996-99)
- Oxford Belles (Alto: 1996-99, Musical Director 1998)
- Music Business (Records, Publishing and Finance) City University London (2013)
- Screenwriting, Central Saint Martins: UAL (2012)
- Music Production (Mixing and mastering) Goldsmiths, University of London (2010)
- DipMus (Musical Techniques and Composition) Birkbeck, University of London (2007)
- MA Oxon (Biological Sciences) St Hilda’s College, Oxford (1999)