When Sarah Smout and Sohpie Ramsay met two years ago, they bonded over their shared concern for the environment - beaver reintroduction and the urgency of climate change. Later they began to make music together, each bringing a love of poetry, landscape, and an intuitive musicianship. Their two distinctive voices blend alchemically, with vocal harmonies, emotive cello, and intricate guitar playing. The result is full of character, freshness, and deep feeling. They have just finished their first joint recording project, 'Atlas', a live EP, to be released imminently.
After their successful Spring and Autumn Tours of 2017, and Spring tour of 2018, all in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, they embark on their most ambitious journey so far. This will be a voyage from Aberdeen to Iceland, by land and sea via Orkney and the Faroes, but they have found a yacht going the same way. The journey will partly be a tour, but more than that, they will listen and collect. It will express their environmentalism, in exploring land and sea, experiencing distance in a tangible way, taking a path that has become fractured, but which was once frequently travelled by Norse and Celtic people alike, which is still taken by fish and seabirds and mammals. They will join together dots on the map, tracing ancient cultural links and environmental history. Their intention is to come home with a sound map, including recorded sounds of nature, of speech or singing of tradition bearers, of local musicians. They also hope to collect words, especially those related to land and nature, which are less often used today. With their gathered material, they will create an album and live show, a piece that moves and shifts through collected songs and words, borrowed sounds and composed soundscapes and poetic lyrics.
Renowned cellist Sarah Smout hails from Yorkshire, and has toured the UK, Europe and New Zealand with acts including Michael Chapman, Rachel Ries, King Creosote, Jess Morgan, Rosie Doonan, and Gren Bartley. Her session work has also appeared on dozens of critically acclaimed albums in the folk, acoustic, and singer-songwriter scenes. As a singer and poet in her own right, it was only a matter of time before she began a solo career. 2016 saw the release of her E.P. 'Decision to Leave' - songs with cello which are original, beautifully crafted and touching, spinning poetry driven lyrics inspired by landscape and sea, and exploring themes like home, land, love and climate change. She has also recently released her first collection of nature poetry, a lovingly hand-made book using recycled paper. Most recently, her song 'Arctic Ground' was used by Greenpeace for a Save the Arctic campaign video, which depicts the tremendous efforts of protestors and native tribes against oil drilling.
"simply beautiful" BBC Introducing "Stirring cello...that was to be the hallmark of the whole album" - The Living Tradition - Magnificent Creatures (Gren Bartley)
"Startlingly good arrangements" - FRUK Live Review - Wickham Festival
"beautiful song" - Greenpeace International
Sophie Ramsay combines old and new folk, singing songs from her native Scotland alongside originals with freshly poetic lyrics and European folk influences. In 2013 she released 'The Glassy Mountain', an album of original songs produced by iconic Scot's composer/producer Jim Sutherland featuring some of the best folk and jazz musicians in the UK. Awarded 4 star reviews by The Financial Times and Rock n Reel, fRoots described the album as ' undeniably beautiful listening'. Her latest release is ' The Seas Between Us', a collection of Scots and Gaelic songs, produced by Matheu Watson: 'deeply moving', fRoots
'Ramsay's ethereal voice laces through these songs with a delightful and sensitive tenderness. Atmospheric, elegant and beguiling, hers is an exciting new voice to carry Burns onwards.' Songlines
Her voice has also been featured in film and TV. As a member of iconic choral group Mediaeval Baebes, Sophie's solo voice begins the double Emmy nominated and Royal TV Award winning opening credits of ITV's Victoria.