Glasgow has become the unofficial seat of the Scottish folk music renaissance; echoing across the moors, collecting stories from Hebrides to the borders. Composers like McKenna are journaling a frantic time of political change, in a country often stalwart but consistently overlooked for independence. Referendums. Brexit. There is change coming fast and with that, uncertainty…but always music.
The result is a generation of young songwriters blending traditional music with contemporary concerns for what is to come. Paul McKenna is at the forefront of this burgeoning genre; a master folk guitarist his empathy for Scotland and conviction for the characters, is spot on in every lyric.
“Paul McKenna is a gifted song writer” Folk Radio UK
Alumni at some of the world’s finest festivals (Edmonton Folk Fest, Tonder, Cambridge Folk Fest), he has toured the UK, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Canada and the USA extensively since 2006. In rotation on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 2 and with performances on BBC Alba and STV he has enjoyed wide acceptance in his native UK.
Irish immigrants on both sides of McKenna’s family made their way to Scotland in the early fifties, desperately searching for work for large families. From Donegal and Mayo, they landed in Glasgow and brought with them singers, players and songs that would mark Paul for what was to come. Interestingly, he would perform outside the home for years, before he would join the family circle; the hardest jury of all. By then he was ready. Armed with a degree in Scottish traditional music from The Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, a satchel of Irish scores and a new voice for Scotland, he was ready to write their stories along with his own.
“Highly expressive and readily identifiable voice…McKenna delivers perfectly” Folk Words
Named ‘Scots Singer of the Year’ in 2012 at The Scots Traditional Music Awards, Paul’s accolades continue to elevate him and his 4 albums blocked with well crafted tales of a people who centuries later are still seeking freedom.