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Moods: Solo Female Artist World: Celtic Folk: Gentle Moods: Type: Acoustic Folk: Celtic Folk

By Location
IRELAND UK - Northern Ireland

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Fil Campbell

“Fil Campbell has a gently commanding way with a song … she draws you in slowly until it’s a case of sweet surrender.” Folk Roots

Irish singer/songwriter Fil Campbell (or Phil) has been a part of the Irish music industry all her life. Together with her percussionist husband Tom McFarland, they play and sing a mixture of contemporary and traditional Irish music, combined with some of Fil's own compositions and bring their Northern Ireland to the stage. Fil has recorded 6 CDs to date and is currently working with Tom on a new collection of contemporary and original material. Together Tom and Fil have produced a large body of work for Irish TV - Songbirds - and work together developing young singers and helping older singers find their voices. Tom runs their recording studio.

Campbell grew up in Belleek in Co. Fermanagh in the North of Ireland. She was brought up on the folk songs that were popular in Fermanagh and Donegal and spent her childhood immersed in music. With both ceilidh bands and singers in the family, music was all around and performance was part of everyday life, both at home and at school. Belleek is the home of the world famous Belleek Pottery, where Fil's father worked all his life, and where she in turn spent several Summer holidays.

She returned to her roots for the TV series and subsequent recordings of Songbirds, which is a collection of charming Irish folk songs that formed the musical backdrop to Ireland of the 30s, 40s and 50s and accompanies a TV show and DVD of the same name, which profiles the women singers of that period. Fil both performs and presents this documentary series which has been seen as a valuable contribution to Irish traditional music archives.

Dublin's Evening Herald commented that her voice was eminently suited to these old gems and she has a knack of making every song sound brand new. Part of the Irish music industry all her life, Fil has recorded 3 earlier CDs of original and contemporary Irish songs, has appeared on countless radio and television programmes at home and abroad, has toured extensively, and has presented her own radio and TV shows in Ireland.

Fil has been working as a full time performer since the late 1980s. Throughout the 90s she toured extensively throughout Europe, Ireland and the UK building up a strong and loyal following on the folk circuit, mainly across Germany, Holland and Belgium, accompanied by her husband and musical partner, percussionist Tom McFarland.
Her first CD, The Light Beyond the Woods, was recorded in 1992 in the world famous Spring Studios in Rostrevor, home of the Sands Family. Dreaming was recorded in 1996 - the title song, a commentary on life in Northern Ireland during the turbulent 90s, was written while travelling in Germany. It won the prestigious Letterkenny Song Festival. Beneath the Calm was a further collection of Fil's songs, released in 2002 and had the beautiful “I Still Think of You” which she wrote in memory of her father.
Fil's first band, Misty Morning, named after a song she wrote while still at school, accompanied her through her years at Queens University in Belfast where she also became part of the local promoting scene. After a stint running the now extinct Fringe Festival, she travelled with bands for a few years and eventually settled back in Belfast where she worked as a music publicist and promoter for many of the biggest gigs in Ireland at the time, under the supervision of the late great Jim Aiken. During this time she continued singing with bands and as a solo performer and backing vocalist, and added radio presenting to her portfolio as the regular voice of folk music on the airwaves of local BBC Radio.

• Songbirds DVD Winner of 2006 JP Folks Video Award.
• First ever performer in Belfast's Stormont Castle - for Mo Mowlam's celebration of peace concert in 1998.
• Dreaming wins Letterkenny folk song contest 1996.

The Light Beyond The Woods (1992)
Dreaming (1996)
The Turn of the Day with Jaimidi (2001)
Beneath The Calm (2002)
Songbirds (2005)
Songbirds DVD of TV Series (2006)
Farewell To Cold Winter (2011)
A Place of My Own (2012)
The Emigrant Woman's Tale with poet Csilla Toldy (2015)
Back There (with Tom McFarland) (2015)
Together (with Tom McFarland) (2017)

Some useless information!

Fil ….
* …has a degree in Arts from Queen’s University, Belfast - one of her main subjects being Music and her speciality Russian Opera.
* …worked as a music publicist for many years, promoting major shows like Queen at Slane Castle, the Bolshoi Ballet, and Rod Stewart. She also promoted shows for Ulster Television, local radio stations, and even promoted a Dolphin Show (!)
* …was a backing vocalist for RTE Television and for several studio sessions, sang in a cabaret band in the Middle East and sang in several operas. She plays flute, piano and guitar and has also played harp.
* …was also a radio presenter for BBC Radio Ulster for 7 years, presenting folk-based evening and daytime shows as well as health documentaries and some late night programmes.
* The song “Dreaming” won the Letterkenny Song Contest.
* …was writing winning songs as early as 1977 when she was a prize winner at the Manorhamilton Song Contest and in a special teenager’s song contest in Dublin.
* The year she graduated Fil directed the Belfast Fringe Festival and was the first promoter to give U2 a gig in the North of Ireland. They supported Squeeze.!