Louise has been playing the fiddle since the age of eight, taught in school by Douglas Montgomery (Saltfishforty, The Chair) and through fiddle classes at the Orkney Traditional Music Project (OTMP). While still in school, Louise appeared on stage in many venues across the UK and abroad, with different groups such as Hadhirgaan (school fiddle group lead by Douglas Montgomery) and the OTMP, including Yn Chruinnaght on the Isle of Man, the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, Celtic Connections, the Edinburgh Fiddle Festival, the Traditional Music Awards in Glasgow. In 2005 Louise toured Canada, with Hadhirgaan and a school drama group. She was encouraged to write music from a young age; one of her compositions was awarded the Ronnie Aim memorial prize in 2005, many of her tunes appear in Orkney tune books and are played by groups such as Saltfishforty, No Soond and Hadhrigaan.
Playing as part of a duo with pianist Jennifer Austin, Louise won the Orkney Folk Festival Open Stage competition in 2008.They were later joined by James Lindsay on double bass and Kevin Gray on cajon to form the folk band Skalder, who went on to win the Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Open Stage in 2009. Skalder appeared at festivals around the UK and toured Scotland in the summer of 2009 before recording their debut album Cora, with Angus Lyon at Gran’s House studio in South Lanarkshire, released in December of that year.
For several years Louise played with singer songwriter Rachel Sermanni at festivals and venues across the UK and abroad, including Reading Festival, T in the Park, Sligo Live in Ireland and as far afield as Norway. She performed live on BBC TV’s Hogmanay Live program presented by Jackie Bird and Phil Cunningham in 2012. Louise has arranged and played violin/sang on several recordings with Sermanni, including Under Mountains, which was released in October 2012. She played for some time in a trio with Young Traditional Musician of the Year Finalist Alistair Ogilvy and has appeared as a ‘Chairette’ with Orkney folk and stomp music band The Chair, as well as with the Orkney Folk Festival’s The Gathering. Louise has played and recorded as a session musician, with various artists including the French Wives, Pronto Mama and Glasgow Indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian. In 2012 she appeared as a musician in the award-winning film God Help the Girl, written and directed by the band’s front-man Stuart Murdock, released in 2014.
Louise enjoyed a successful few years playing with all-female folk quartet Gria, who’s first ever performance won an award at the 2013 Danny Kyle Open Stage award at Celtic Connections. They went on to win Hebredian Celtic Festival’s One Step Further competition, and were very well received at a number of performances including the Orkney Folk Festival, Spirit of Speyside Festival at the Glenfiddich Distillery, Lorient Interceltique festival in France and for the Scottish Government at Edinburgh Castle.
Louise was a founding member of Orkney folk group Fara, who made their stage debut at the Orkney Folk Festival in 2014 to great acclaim. 'Joined by fiddlers Kristan Harvey, Catriona Price and Jeana Leslie and accompanied by Jennifer Austin on piano, Fara produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing among the music of Orkney.' 2015 saw them perform at festivals including Shetland and Cambridge Folk Festivals and Tonder Festival in Denmark, before Louise departed for Boston and Berklee College of Music.
Although traditional music is her passion, Louise has also enjoyed playing with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, and their Children’s Orchestra, as well as the Orkney Orchestra and Orkney Camerata, and has achieved Grade 7 Violin. She taught fiddle classes for several years with the OTMP and gave individual lessons at The Wrigley Sisters Centre of Music in Kirkwall. While living in Glasgow, Louise taught classes at the North Ayrshire Fiddle Workshops, Feis Rois in Ullapool and Feis Fhoirt in Stirling as well as teaching herown private pupils in Edinburgh. She regularly performed with various ceilidhand function bands including Whisky Kiss and her own group Dalamist, and traveled to far flung places such as Lebanon, Oman, Kuwait and Syria, to perform for weddings and Burns Suppers.
While studying music in Boston, Louise found great joy and inspiration in playing with Berklee World Strings, under the leadership of cellist and composer Eugene Friesen. The group had several performance and recording opportunities and collaborations with the likes of Peter Eldridge and Kenney Werner and pianist Tigran Hamasyan, as well as the Berklee Indian Ensemble and the Berklee Balkan Choir. Louise has performed as a soloist with the group, playing her own compositions.
In December 2016, Louise released her first solo album 'Out of My Own Light,' which depicts the story of her late Grandmother and her family ties to Canada, to great acclaim. Louise is accompanied by fiddler and guitarist Mike Vass, cellist Su-a Lee, double bassist Duncan Lyall, pianist Jennifer Austin and percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir. It was recorded in May 2015 at Watercolour studio in Fort William, with Blazin' Fiddles' Angus Lyon at the helm.
In 2017 Louise was invited to represent Orkney as part of the 'Between Islands' project, orchestrated by Alex MacDonald and An Lainntair in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. She teamed up with fiddlers Maggie Adamson from Shetland and Jane Hepburn from the Hebrides, to collaborate on music and perform an extremely well received concert at the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Lewis. A return to the festival was set for 2020 and although that couldn’t go ahead, a double-CD of live and newly commissioned recordings was released, featuring the trio alongside the other musicians involved with the project over the previous few years.
Louise formed a trio, Corner House, with friends and housemates, Ethan Setiawan (mandolin and cello) and Ethan Hawkins (guitar and vocals) to perform as part of the Berklee American Roots showcase at Freshgrass Festival, in September of 2017. In 2018 they released their debut self-titled EP and a toured in Scotland. Fast forward a couple years, three are now four with the addition of cellist Casey Murray, they have a few US tours and festivals under their belt, and have released two further EPs, “Smart Folks” in 2019 and “Caribou Party” in 2020 and their debut full-length is on the horizon.
In January of 2018 Apiary played a successful debut show at Celtic Connections festival, alongside French Canadian band Le Vent Du Nord. Louise formed the group along with fiddlers Jenna Moynihan and Katie MacNally from the USA and Laura Wilkie from Scotland, joined by Natalie Hass (USA) on cello and Anna Massie (Scotland) on guitar. Apiary is a transatlantic meeting of kindred musical passions, celebrating the fiddle traditions which we grew up in and those we became passionate about, with a little help from fiddle camp.
A side project which has grown arms and legs since its humble beginnings, is Fiddlecam; Short videos and photographs from the perspective of the fiddler, featuring tunes and landscapes from Scotland and beyond, as well as the odd musician friend here and there. Louise looks forward to creating more content while traveling for concerts.
Corner House Caribou Party 2020
Between Islands Between Islands 2020
Making Tracks 2019 Live Tour 2020
Martin Butler Poems and Songs from the Woodlands Edge 2020
Louise Bichan & Ethan Setiawan Self Titled EP 2019
Peter Eldridge, Kenny Werner Somewhere 2019
Corner House Smart Folks 2019
Corner House Corner House 2018
Various Un-Herd Volume 61 2017
Louise Bichan Out of My Own Light 2016
Orkney Folk Festival Fiddle Gathering 2016
Fara EP 2014
Richy Carey All at Sea 2013
Rachel Sermanni Underneath Mountains (Middle of Nowhere) 2012, Eggshells single (Middle of Nowhere) 2012, Blackcurrents (Middle of Nowhere) 2012, Bothy Sessions (Middle of Nowhere) 2011
French Wives Dreams of the Inbetween (Electric Honey) 2012
Skalder Cora 2009
Hadhirgaan Keep it Up 2003
Previous appearances include:
- BBC TV’s Hogmanay Live Show 2012
- Reading Festival BBC Introducing Stage
- Celtic Connections Festival, Scotland
- Hebridean Celtic Festival, Scotland
- Belladrum Festival, Scotland
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland
- Sligo Live Festival, Ireland
- Shetland Folk Festival, Scotland
- Union Chapel, London, England
- Lorient Interceltique Festival France
- Milwaukee Irish Festival, USA
- Freshgrass Festival, USA
- Red Wing Roots Music Festival, USA