Born and raised on Orkney (a group of small islands in the north of Scotland), Merlyn Driver was brought up on a smallholding without mains electricity and didn't go to school until his early teens. This unconventional upbringing continues to inform his music, which is influenced not just by Celtic folk but also a reverence for nature, open space and different musical traditions and genres from around the world.
Born in Orkney in the north of Scotland, Merlyn Driver was raised within a musical family on a smallholding without electricity. His interest in exploring connections between music and nature has grown out of this unconventional upbringing, as well as influences as diverse as Paul Simon’s Graceland, studies in anthropology at the University of St Andrews and ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London and his love of joik, the traditional vocal art of Northern Europe’s indigenous Sámi people.
An inveterate traveller who is driven by a passion for music from far-flung places, Merlyn is now based 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 SOAS Concert Series and 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, Oh Sister, Jinnwoo) and Colin Bass (9Bach, Etran Finatawa, Krar Collective), the recording features guest appearances by the Sámi joiker Marja Mortensson, jazz musician Michael Wilbur from the Brooklyn-based band Moon Hooch, and several other collaborators from the UK and further afield.
"Fascinating and unique" - BBC Radio Scotland
"I'm transfixed by his voice ... it's like conditioner for the soul" - Emilia Mårtensson
"The melodic hooks are deceptively sharp and keep ringing in your ears for days after" - Oli Steadman of Stornoway
"One of those beautiful Celtic voices that cuts right through to the soul ... rich and full and every bit an instrument unto itself" - For Folk Sake
On This Is the Corner of a Larger Field:
"Haunting and beautiful" - Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2)
"Expertly crafted songs ... expect to hear a lot more from this chap" - fRoots Magazine
"This is the dogs bollocks! ... it knocked me sideways" - Alex Gallacher (Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Folk Radio UK)
"A hugely promising debut" - Shire Folk [on This Is the Corner of a Larger Field]