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The First time Patsy ever played the harp!
  The Poozies with Kate Rusby


Patsy comes from the beautiful city of Edinburgh.  Born into a musical family she started singing in public aged 6, piano lessons at 7 and violin at 8.  However it was hearing the Clarsach or Scottish Harp, aged 10, that really captivated her.  At that time the instrument was rather neglected, only played by a handful of people, mostly in Edinburgh.  Patsy was lucky as twice a year her parents organised ceilidhs, at which many fine musicians would play.  There she met and subsequently took lessons from Alison Kinnaird, whose deep love of Gaelic music inspired Patsy.  She took Scottish Gaelic language classes at school, subsequently gaining an Honours Degree in Celtic Studies in 1985 from Edinburgh University.  She completed all the national grade exams in violin, but took the harp much further, and her path of learning is still winding on.

While at university she began to experiment with ways to integrate the Clarsach in the rich traditional music scene which was particularly strong in Edinburgh at that time.  She met her long term harp partner Mary Macmaster at University, and together they played in the group Sprangeen in which the harps took the rhythm role as well as leading the tune.  Mary and Patsy formed the harp duo Sileas, and after graduating decided to have some fun for a while, touring their harps across the world - ‘taking the harp to places it may not recover from!’.  In 1985 they drove to France to pick up the first electro-harp produced by CAMAC harps, which was to transform their career, and that of the harp worldwide. The electric harp provided new deep bass notes to broaden their sound and also permitted louder line-ups.  As Sileas they have released 4 CDs and have toured from York to New York, Tooting to Tokyo.

In 1990 Patsy formed the group The Poozies with Mary Macmaster, singer Sally Barker and accordionist Karen Tweed.  The Poozies cover many genres of music and incorporate the Camac electro-harp to surprise listeners with a big bass sound and its own high-register character.  In several configurations, with Jenny Gardner and Kate Rusby, now Eilidh Shaw and Mairearad Green, the Poozies have released 4 CDs incorporating original compositions and traditional favourites.

In 1992 Patsy helped form the ‘super-group’ Clan Alba with Dick Gaughan (voice and guitar) Mary Macmaster (electro-harp), Davy Steele (voice and guitar), Brian MacNeill (voice and fiddle), Fred Morrison (pipes), Mike Travis (drums) and Davy Tulloch (percussion).  Mary and Patsy both played Camac electro-harps, and again created a sound that was exciting and new for the harp.  An early review said ‘the harps were a bit loud in the mix’.  Now there’s first for harping

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    Graduating from Edinburgh University    
      The Poozies original line up        
  Clan Alba