Fiona Soe Paing is a singer, producer and songwriter exploring the folklore and balladry of Northeast Scotland, combining traditional song and story with experimental electronic production, to create a dark and distinctive avant-folk sound.


The music

Interweaving voice, electronic textures, field recordings, archive recordings and instrumentation from some of the region’s premier traditional musicians, Fiona’s original compositions and innovative re-imaginings of traditional material create an immersive, delicate and brooding soundtrack of ancient storytelling…

rooted in place but

otherworldly in spirit

Her latest album, “Sand, Silt, Flint” (released November 2022) was rated Four Stars in the Guardian’s roundup of the most under-rated albums of 2022, and included in Songlines magazine’s article on “The Fearless Future of Folk”.

The album captured the imagination of tastemakers in the broadest range of genres, from Elizabeth Alker’s experimental show “Unclassified” (BBC Radio 3) to the legendary godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, (BBC 6 Music) and the multi-award-wining podcast “Folk On Foot”.


The story

Brought up in rural Aberdeenshire, and of Scottish/Burmese heritage, Fiona recently discovered she is related to one of the area’s original ballad singers, John Strachan. Intrigued to find out more about the singer, Fiona recorded a version of one of Strachan’s songs- this led to digging deeper into the amazingly rich seam of Northeast Scotland’s balladry tradition.



In ‘Sand, Silt, Flit” each track is linked to a specific location and its accompanying story- tales of murder, revenge, tragic deaths, forlorn lovers, and ancient curses explore the darker side of the area’s rich ballad history, creating unsettling and evocative song-scapes.


Using the “Echoes” mobile app, a geo-located sound-walk has been created for each track.  Using smartphones and headphones, the audio is triggered by GPS enabling listeners to walk in the landscape and hear the songs in the locations which inspired them, in an immersive combination of landscape, myth and music.

Fiona acknowledges the generous support of Creative Scotland, Help Musicians UK and Aberdeen Performing Arts for the creation of the album. John Strachan samples are from the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Courtesy of the Association for Cultural Equity.

In the press

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Startling Scottish balladry with a global scope.

Jude Rogers


Dark, extraordinary versions of traditional songs… I am already a big fan.

Elizabeth Alker, BBC Radio 3 “Unclassified"

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Avant-folk doesn’t get much better than this…a sublimely powerful and lingering experience.

Billy Rough




A wonderful stirring album


Mat Smith