Hayley Keenan

Hayley Keenan

Hello, my name is Hayley. I am a self-employed musician and a classroom music teacher. I play the fiddle in folk trio, Talisk and have been fortunate enough to perform all over the world, including Cambridge Folk Festival, the Rainforest World Music Festival and Milwaukee Irish Fest. I am also a member of the Jim Jam Ceilidh Band and run a folk club called Largs Folk Nights.

Lockdown has taken the whole world by surprise and imposed a change in how we live our lives. Reflecting on my life previously has made me realise that the pace and pressure to “achieve” everyday was unsustainable. This has been a time in my life where I’ve had to pause and slow down whether I’ve liked it or not. I spent lockdown in my home town, Largs, with my parents and younger sister. This was the first time I’ve spent more than a week or two there since I was 17, and it really was a beautiful place to have lived during this uncertain time in my life. I spent many hours exploring the hills, which helped inspire me to compose some new music.

Prior to lockdown, I had prepared myself to head to the USA for four weeks with Talisk, but within a week of arriving, we were booking flights in Nashville to head back to Scotland. We had performed three gigs before Trump’s announcement to close the US borders the following week. It really was a race against time for the band to get back to Scotland, and having just started the tour, we found ourselves significantly out of pocket. Like many others, our careers had ground to a halt with nearly all the work we had lined up during 2020 cancelled.

With life as a performer moving to virtual platforms, I found myself developing and acquiring new skills. I arranged and recorded music using Pro Tools. This involved recording and mixing the music, which was a challenging new learning experience for me. My patience has definitely been tested with technology at times, but overall it’s been great developing recording and mixing skills. I am so used to working as part of a team in the bands I play in, but I’ve really enjoyed the process and satisfaction in seeing the end product come together, completely from my own efforts which made it a worthwhile project.

Nothing will ever replace the feeling of performing to a live audience though!

Over lockdown, I’ve taken Largs Folk Nights online, where I’ve arranged for local musicians to send videos of themselves performing at home as well as using professional artist videos. I’ve enjoyed making these videos and it’s helped keep the folk club running virtually. I can’t wait for the day that we can host a “live” Largs Folk Night again.

I’ve also recorded fiddle parts for Talisk, which have been sent to various festivals that have set up virtual events in the absence of being able to run them in the usual format this year. For my own videos, I’ve mainly arranged and experimented with piano and fiddle. I also produced a collaborative recording with my good friend Holly Little, who I met during my time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This is probably my favourite video I’ve created as it was great fun to collaborate with Holly, who is an incredible Scots singer.



I’m not sure what the future will bring for the performing arts industry. At the moment, we’re all waiting for an announcement from the government, which will give the industry a better understanding of what’s to come. Moving forward, I’m going to try and live my life at a slower pace and continue to create music, be that virtually or not!




Hayley Keenan
Largs Folk Nights



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