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24/7 Scottish Music Magazine (Issue No.4 - July 2005)

Following in the footsteps of such artists as Phil Cunningham, Sharon Shannon and Karen Tweed, Harriet Bartlett is an accordionist and singer who has come to the fore in the last few years. Although young, he has already decided to work full time as a professional musician, performing and teaching traditional music.

Having concentrated on performing, Bartlett feels that "teaching is something I would now like to move onto." "I am tutoring at a few workshops this year, which is something I am really looking forward to," Harriet added.

"In 2001, following my successful nomination as a finalist in the Danny Kyle Open Stage at Celtic Connections, Greentrax offered me a recording contract. Released in 2004, my first CD is going extremely well and I am gaining a lot of positive feedback. I would love to record another and am working on new material at the moment."

Growing up listening to folk music, Bartlett picked up her first accordion at the age of seven. Beginning with classical lessons, she became interested in folk music through her parents. This interest was heightened through "listening to the likes of Karen Tweed and Phil Cunningham." "I attended various workshops and courses and bought lots of books, predominantly teaching myself folk music," she said.

"I remember when I was younger going to a festival and watching Karen Tweed perform on stage, thinking I would love to be up there performing. Then one year, I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to play on the main stage at the same festival. I was only thirteen at the time and just loved it."

"I have a good friendship with Phil Cunningham which began when, as a huge fan of his at the age of 13, I met him at a concert. We chatted at the end and at further concerts, I was invited up on stage to play. I have remained in contact with him ever since."

As well as being a good accordionist, Bartlett is also a talented singer. "About two years ago I began singing," she recalled. "I don't take any lessons at the moment, I am working on it myself, finding tunes and songs that I like and want to perform. I currently set up all my own gigs which is probably harder work than having an agent, however it allows you more control over everything that you do. I perform solo most of the time but am doing a few gigs with Ed Boyd and John Joe Kelly from 'Flook' later in the year. We are off to Spain, which should be good fun. I enjoy working on my own, however it is nice to work with a band from time to time and be part of that bigger sound."

"When I came to Scotland in November and December I did two small tours. I don't feel that there is any difference between the clubs in Scotland and England other than the type of music performed. The people are all really friendly and helpful."

Harriet has, like a lot of traditional musician, a liking for the smaller, more intimate type of venue. "I find the smaller venues most intimate and it is easier to chat with the audience," she says. "I enjoy performing, getting out there and meeting new people. I will, hopefully, be performing at some of the festivals in Scotland this year and in November I will be playing at a few folk clubs. I love visiting Scotland and would perhaps like to move there one day. Glasgow is probably my favourite place but that may be due to the fact that I have been there a lot performing at Celtic Connections."