Sheila Stewart, a great traditional folk singer and storyteller

sheila stewart
Photo © June Barlow.

Born: 7th July, 1935, in Blairgowrie to a Perthshire family of travellers/musicians. Died: 9th December 2014, in Dundee.

Sheila Stewart’s family roots can be traced back to the 11th century. Her education proved fraught as she suffered from the bullying to which traveller children were subjected. Prejudice towards travellers was – and still is – prevalent, ingrained in society. One local government functionary assured a Stewart family member: “If I had anything to do wi’ youse people, I’d burn ye aff the face of the earth.”

Sheila was awarded a MBE for her campaigning work on the traditions and rights of Scottish travellers. She was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. A tribute was paid to her at the Celtic Connections festival in January 2015.


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