Sarah-Jane Summers combines an eclectic mix of tradition and experimentation within her critically acclaimed music. Growing up in Inverness, Summers was taught the fiddle by Donald Riddell CBE, which gave her a fascination for all things traditionally Scottish. Now based in Norway, the prolific Summers is focused on uniting Norse elements with traditional Scottish techniques.

Tell us about your influences

I love all music, as long as it is performed with deep integrity and passion. It is like listening to someone speak: you can hear when someone is speaking their innermost integrity whether it be through words, music or art. The biggest influence on my music is therefore my desire to be brave enough to be deeply honest, even if it means that people may hear the difficulties I have experienced. Hopefully they will also hear all the joy I also experience.

You're living in Norway now. How does that affect your music?

I am and always will be Scottish, no matter where I live. I was taught by the late, great Donald Riddell, who learnt his fiddling from a relative of mine, Alexander Grant of Battangorm. Thanks to them, the tradition is deep within me, it courses through my veins. One of the pieces in my New Voices commission was scribbled whilst sitting on the bus, so the inspiration comes very much from within. It also comes from being surrounded by inspiring, energetic, positive people. My husband (Juhani Silvola) is a huge inspiration to me.

What can audiences expect from your Celtic Connections performance?

The theme is Scots and Gaelic words originating from Old Norse, and the stories they imply. Learning Norwegian has shown me the strong Norse influences in Scotland over the centuries, including many shared words between Scots and Norwegian. The underlying theme is of communication and belonging. People move country; always have done, always will. How I wish all politicians had to live abroad for five years before being able to stand for election.

What are your aims for 2018?

On International Women’s Day (March 8), I will release an album of totally solo traditional fiddle music. In February, I will start writing a piece for string quartet and fiddle which places traditional elements in a contemporary music setting. My husband, Juhani Silvola, and I are going to record a new album. I’m also involved in a project of Robert Burns songs translated into Norwegian dialect.

Sarah-Jane Summers’ performance takes place at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite today (January 28) at 1pm. Tickets cost £12 plus booking fee and can be purchased from, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall box office or via phone on 0141 353 8000. The Sunday Herald is the festival's media partner.