Fiddler Shona Mooney is a Scottish Borders lass brought up in Lauder which lies close to the Lammermuir Hills. She sources traditional tunes from the Border region while her own compositions derive inspiration from a winningly magpie-minded range of subjects, both human and pastoral. She was a recipient of the 2006 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year. Her beautifully haunting and evocative composition Tidal Island, supported by Creative Scotland, was recorded for BBC Radio Scotland's Global Gathering 2012. Since then she was awarded Best Screening for a Small Ensemble in the Silent London Poll 2015 for her new score that accompanied 1927 silent film, Annie Laurie. Most recently Shona composed a piece called, For A' That Variation, that was played by the Strathspey & Surreal Society at Celtic Connections 2016.
"Her arrangements cover the full spectrum: from stripped-down simplicity to far-out electronic experimentalism."
- Sue Wilson (Song Lines)
Since winning the highly coveted BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award, she released her debut album Heartsease, and recorded three albums (A Different Season, Decadence and Murmurations) with acclaimed all-female sextet, The Shee. With her solo projects, duets and different ensembles she has toured all over the UK, Europe, Jordan, Canada and USA. In 2007, Shona was featured performing on Howard Goodall's Channel 4 programme How Music Works, and has collaborated with musicians from disparate cultures including Jordan, Catalonia and Bulgaria. In 2009, she performed Conflict and Resolution, a musical piece to celebrate the life of artist Charles Rennie MacKintosh which connected Scottish and Catalan folk musicians alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra orchestrated by David Heath.
Shona began playing the fiddle in O’er the Border with her parents Gordon and Barbara Mooney, bowing a tiny second-hand fiddle bought for her in a junk shop in Peebles. During her childhood she studied classical violin and traditional fiddle styles with the prominent Borders fiddler Lucy Cowan before joining the vibrant traditional musical scene fostered by Harris Playfair and John Mabon at Kelso High School. In 2001, Shona enrolled upon Newcastle University's newly founded degree course in Folk and Traditional Music. Here she continued to study the music-making of the Scottish Borders, stemming from her father’s contribution to the world of Borders piping. Along the way she had tuition from two of Scotland's top fiddlers Catriona MacDonald and Aidan O'Rourke – who supported her in developing her own direction in Borders fiddling. Recently in 2013 she graduated from Newcastle University with a Masters of Music (Distinction). Her performance strand was supported by Stuart Hardy, Jamie Savan, Desi Wilkinson and Catriona MacDonald. She focused on Scottish 18th Century music: long variation and sonata form, the fiddle manuscripts of Henry Atkinson and James Hill. The final performance was titled, Tak Tent o' Time. Whilst attending the Masters she researched dialogic teaching supported by Felicity Laurence whilst attending her module: Philosophy, Politics of Music Pedagogy.