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Aberdeenshire folksinger’s voice becomes soundtrack to hopeful Aberdeen fans – Evening Express

An Aberdeenshire folksinger’s voice has become the soundtrack to hopeful Aberdeen Football Club’s fans with her interpretation of The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen.

The song, originally written by Mary Webb in the early 1950s, is the latest single from Huntly songstress Iona Fyfe.

As part of Aberdeen’s 2021-22 season tickets campaign, the young singer collaborated with the club, who commissioned the recording.

Her voice has become the soundtrack for hopeful and dedicated football fans, shown reuniting ahead of a match in the video.

This interpretation of the unofficial Aberdeen anthem was created with award-winning Scottish folk musicians Graham Rorie, Aidan Moodie (Gnoss) and Michael Biggins, the current winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

❤️ “God speed the day when I’m on my way to #MyHomeInAberdeen”🔴 2021/22 Season Ticket Memberships on sale now ➡️ bit.ly/2QIHBw7

Posted by Aberdeen Football Club on Thursday, April 29, 2021

Lisa Sheran, head of communications at Aberdeen, added: “As we eagerly anticipate the return of our supporters to their spiritual home at Pittodrie, we were keen to ignite that sense of belonging with a season ticket campaign which pulled at the heart strings.

“In order to compliment our #MyHomeinAberdeen campaign, it was our desire to collaborate with a local musician who could record a unique and poignant version of The Northern Lights, a song which has echoed around Pittodrie for years.

“Our search led us to Iona and with her links to the north-east, it was the perfect partnership.

“Iona and her fellow musicians have done a wonderful version of the song, a song which means so much to many Aberdeen supporters, and we’re extremely thankful to her for helping to bring our vision to life.”

‘We’ve done what we set out to do’

Ms Fyfe is the youngest ever winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards and recently performed in the final of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year final 2021.

She graduated from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a degree in Traditional Music in 2019 and won the title of Scots Performer of the Year at the Scots Language Awards in 2020.

Miss Fyfe said: “It’s wonderful to partner up with Aberdeen Football Club to release a new version of such an iconic song, written by Mary Webb.

“At a time when musicians can’t tour or perform live, I’ve really appreciated being able to collaborate with the club creatively, and really appreciate them supporting the arts.”

Ms Fyfe said she is no stranger to the song, having performed it on various occasions and understand the nostalgia it brings to audience members – especially older crowds.

She added: “When Aberdeen Football Club got in touch they said they wanted it to be melancholic, slow, and uplifting.”

The 23-year-old got to work with her colleagues and created a take on the song that would be “evocative” and “reflective”.

She said: “The song rings true to me and to home.

“I live in Glasgow now, but I’m from Huntly and I haven’t been home to Aberdeen for quite some time.

“And the campaign is about encouraging people to go back and to come together.

“It’s about connecting with each other again, which is a really nice message after the last year we have had.”

The opportunity to work with Aberdeen, Ms Fyfe said, was welcomed after having lost work due to the pandemic.

As a musician, she has not been able to tour or put on any live performances and has relied on online teaching.

The young singer said people online have been supportive since the release of the single.

“People on Twitter – grown men – have said to me they cried watching the video,” she added.

“They have just been really encouraging and supportive, downloading it.

“I think we’ve done what we set out to do.”

Paying homage to her roots and her dedication to Doric, Ms Fyfe also reinterpreted the lyrics by peppering the lyrics with a north-east twist


The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen

When I was a lad, a tiny wee lad
My mither said tae me
Come see the Northern Lights my child
They’re bright as they can be
She called them the heavenly dancers
Merry dancers in the sky
I’ll never forget, that wonderful sight
They made the heavens bright

The northern lights of old Aberdeen
Mean home sweet home tae me
The northern lights of Aberdeen
Are what I long tae see
I’ve been a wanderer all o my life
Any many a sight I’ve seen
God speed the day when l’m on my way
To my home in Aberdeen

I’ve wandered in mony far-aff lands
And traivelled mony a mile
I’ve missed the folk I’ve cherished most
The joy o a friendly smile
It warms up the hairt o a wand’rer
The clasp of a welcomin hand
Tae greet me when, I return
Hame tae my native land

The northern lights of old Aberdeen
Mean home sweet home tae me
The northern lights of Aberdeen
Are what I long tae see
I’ve been a wanderer all o my life
Any monys the sight I’ve seen
God speed the day when l’m on my way
To my home in Aberdeen


The Northern Lights is out now on all major music platforms and can be listened to or downloaded here.

The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen

The song was written by Mary Webb in the early 1950s with her husband William, known as Mel.

The duo penned the now iconic melody as a way of cheering up a homesick work colleague.

Mrs Webb was working in a hospital kitchen in London and her friend at the time, Aberdonian Winnie Forgie, was missing the Granite City.

Mary Webb and husband Mel

When she returned home that night and told her husband about her friend’s homesickness, the pair decided to create something that would cheer Winnie up – and so the Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen was born.

Unfortunately, Mel died before the song was premiered in the Albert Hall and was sung by Scots tenor Robert Wilson.

Mrs Web and Mr Wilson eventually performed together at the Tivoli Theatre in 1953.

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