Ailsa Mackenzie

Ailsa first began singing traditional songs in 1970 at Redcar Folk Club when the guest was Rosemary Hardman. Organizer Johnny Taylor heard her in the audience and put her on the stage, rigid with fright! Ailsa sang The Recruited Collier, the only folk song she knew at the time (learned from a Barbara Dickson album). Today, hundreds of performances later, she is delighted to be back at Saltburn Folk Festival, to give a celtic harp workshop on Friday and to be singing on Saturday afternoon with The Ironopolis Singers of which she is music director. She is a superb singer and harmonizer and plays hammer dulcimer, appallachian dulcimer, mandolin, mandola and the harp. Many will know her as a member of the pioneering women’s group Bryony whose last concert together after thirty years was on the Saturday evening of the festival in 2019. Apart from many folk clubs and festivals, Ailsa’s played the harp in draughty medieval castles, ancient church crypts, former flour mills, art galleries, and sailing ships among other unusual venues. She’s performed at Saltburn Folk Festival many times.