Born in Orkney in the north of Scotland, Merlyn Driver was raised on a smallholding without electricity and didn’t attend school until his early teens. This unconventional upbringing continues to inform his music, which is influenced by Celtic folk as well as a reverence for the natural world. Merlyn’s studies in ethnomusicology - focusing mainly on Scandinavian and African musics - have also played a key part in the development of his sound. He’s particularly inspired by joik, the traditional vocal art of the indigenous Sámi people whose homelands stretch from the Norwegian Arctic to the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Over the years, Merlyn has slowly gone about incorporating various elements of joik within his songwriting, resulting in dialogue between joik and Celtic musical traditions including Gaelic waulking song.
An inveterate traveller who is driven by a passion for the music of far-flung places, Merlyn is now based mainly in London, where he spends his time researching, creating, performing and recording his “fascinating and unique” (BBC Radio Scotland) music, designing and making his own instruments and interfaces - including his own take on the West African buzzing rattle - and promoting and presenting the work of others through the platform, Making Tracks.
Merlyn’s most recent musical output is his critically acclaimed debut EP This Is the Corner of a Larger Field. Produced by BBC Folk Awards winner Ben Walker (Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker) and Colin Bass (9Bach, Etran Finatawa, Krar Collective), the recording features the Norwegian Sámi joiker Marja Mortensson and several other collaborators from the UK and further afield.
"Fascinating and unique" - BBC Radio Scotland
“Destined for great things as a songwriter” - Musicport Festival
"Haunting and beautiful" - Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2)
"Expertly crafted songs ... expect to hear a lot more from this chap" - fRoots Magazine