Credit: David Gardner

Lise Sinclair

4 March, 1971 - 4 August, 2013

Fair Isle poet, singer-songwriter and musician

Lise Sinclair was a poet, musician and singer, set poetry to music, taught music and performed nationally and internationally. Born in Shetland, she grew up in her mother's native Fair Isle, northern Scotland, where she returned to live as a young adult, crofting with her husband, Ian, bringing up their four children, playing the organ, teaching in the school, leading the choir and editing the Fair Isle Times for the community of 70 who live on the island.

Her family encouraged her to take up the piano when she was very young and the fiddle when she was about eight. She went to the island primary school and then, as her own children would, boarded at Anderson high school in Lerwick. She also had a year at a sixth-form college in Swindon and went on to study briefly at the Glasgow School of Art. Growing up among singers, she became part of the family group Frideray, and was on stage with them last in May of this year, at the Shetland folk festival.

In 2005, she published her first collection of poems. Her poetry appeared in various publications and was translated into several European languages. Her published works include White Below (2010), and, Ivver Entrancin Wis (Shetland Music, 2008), a CD of Shetland poetry by various poets set to music by her for cello, harp, viola and voice.

The strength of her opinions and the sound of her laughter were a hallmark of any encounter with her. Poets across northern Europe as well as from Shetland and elsewhere in Scotland have paid tribute to this immensely gifted, generous and energetic young woman.

She died in 2013 after a short illness. Lise is survived by Ian Best, whom she married in 1991; their children, Tom, Hannah, Alice and Lowri; her parents, Anne and Barry; and her brother, Steven.

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