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About Claire

A Brief Autobiography

I began my musical career as a singer when I was 16 years old. Moving around the world over the years gave me first-hand experience of the rich and wonderful gift we all have of expressing what binds us together as humans through music and our voices.

Claire in park

I have had the privilege of singing with nomadic peoples of Kenya, indigenous Roma gypsies in the Czech Republic as well as working with Tibetan, Indian and Celtic musicians. I come from the oral tradition of music and love to sing songs which speak from the heart. My solo concerts at present consist in the main of ancient Celtic airs, stories and contemporary self-penned songs inspired by the land and my life experience.

Over the past 15 years I have devoted myself to developing music and voice as a therapeutic tool through my own personal training and working with people of all ages with special needs. Alongside this has grown and blossomed my own performing career.

Living in the Heart of Scotland has enabled me to immerse myself in the rich Celtic musical heritage and to begin to express through my music the wonder it is to be (human and) alive. I have two children, two grand-daughters and am only half a century old with a wealth of experience to fire and inspire me for another half!

Claire Hewitt performing as storyteller - Quilt Stories sledeshow
Quilt Story


Curriculum Vitae

1973—1980
Solo folk singer and guitarist touring folk clubs.
1977
Living with nomadic herding group the Pokot in N.W. Kenya working for an Anthropoligist and studying their music and lifestyle.
1980—1985
Lead singer in Women's Big Band, York, jazz drummer Eddie Prevost's band; singer in York University Choir.
1985—1991
Lead singer in country blues band The Yahoos, Leeds.
1992—1997
Member of Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir.
Pensive
1992—2005
Began to learn the clarsach. Solo performances and concerts around Scotland including a summer concert series at the Scottish Crannog Centre, private celebrations and fundraising concerts.
Voice training with Frankie Armstrong, Kate Hudson, Jill Purce, Chris James, Michael Deason-Barrow of Tonalis, Ida Kelarova (Foundation for Human Creation and Voice, Prague), Drake Music Project (training in music technology appropriate for people with special needs).
Ongoing freelance storytelling in schools, residential homes for the elderly, hospitals, enviromental organisations such as SNH and WWF, Schools for Children with Fragile Needs.
1994—2005
Development of Healing Sound programme with adults and children with physical and learning disabilities around Scotland, e.g. Music and Drama tutor with Capability Scotland, visiting music therapist to Rachel House Children's Hospice and Camphill Communities, and much freelance work.
2001—2005
Training in Middle Eastern dance and drumming.
2004
Collaborative Peace Concert for HH Dalai Lama at Glasgow Festival Concert Hall.
Creation of first CD 'Duanag' and launch.
Benefit concert for orphaned Roma children's music camp in Prague with Apsora and Ida Kelarova.
2005
Tour of Northern ireland and Eire with Celtic Lyre player John Billings; fundraising concert and feast for Ngoenga School for Tibetan Children with Disabilities in India; 'Finding your Voice' workshops with writer Jamie Jauncey.
2006
Four months' volunteer work at Ngoenga School, Dehradun; Peace Arts Theatre production at The Tramway, Glasgow; storyteller with Kala Chethena Kathekali theatre company on tour in Argyll.
2007
Edinburgh Mela; storytelling at Falkland Big Tent Festival, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Watermill Children's Book Festival, libraries and schools; Enchanted Forest Autumn Festival — Storyteller in Residence for 15 nights in a felted yurt.
2008
Prof. Dev. award from Scottish Arts Council to take me to Samiland, Arctic Circle, in midsummer and midwinter; creation of 'Felt Story' project — initiating storytelling and storymaking projects in communites; Edinburgh Harp Festival.
2009
I had some amazing opportunities to share storytelling in a variety of places — Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh International Book Festival, my house, the woods! Bulgaria had to be one of the highlights though, where after telling Scottish tales to an English class in the mountain town of Troyan, I was given a red rose as the student recited Burns' 'My Love is like a red red rose'.
Also working in the acute children's ward in Stirling where I learnt the power of Story. A young lad with a broken leg was awaiting surgery. He was in agony. "I'm not a doctor, nor a nurse, but I can tell you a story to pass the time.. what's your favorite animal?" I asked. "Wolf" he whispered. So I told him a wolf tale. Just as I got to the punch line the surgeon came in and took the boy away. The next week I went into the ward and there was the same lad recuperating. "Do you remember the story I told you?". "Yep. The wolf had the crow by the neck... I want to know what happens next!" So without hesitation the tale was finished!
Tales from the Yurt was another great success in Pitlochry... 1,200 listeners and over 100 stories told in 14 nights. See you again this Autumn!!!

Claire Hewitt logo: starfish
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