Elsa Jean McTaggart - The Story So Far

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“The desire to create is the potential to inspire”

Elsa Jean McTaggart Christmas
Music is what I love to do and now it is what I do. 
This makes me insanely happy!!

Born in 1977 the 5th child of 11, Elsa Jean McTaggart was brought up on a Rustic Croft on the mountainside overlooking Tay Valley, Aberfeldy, Perthshire. With no electricity or even running water in the house for many years. Instruments, books, animals and siblings were the main sources of entertainment.

‘"Apart from my Father, who played music for his own entertainment whenever he got the chance (after all the 'wee ones' had gone to bed), my mother (who sings constantly around the house) and my wonderfully talented aunt: folk artist - Janet Russell and all my incredibly musical and artistic brothers and sisters; I can’t think of anything that inspired me to sing, create and play music. It was always just what I did, a burning in my soul, driving me crazy."

She bought a cheap violin at the age of 17, but was never part of a music scene until the age of 20.

She was invited to an open folk session and an Irish music night whilst studying a science degree in Aberystwyth, Wales. She is self-taught and began to overcome her phobia-like fear of performing to an audience, and to learn music with a passion, writing her own music and songs whilst learning guitar and fiddle.

She moved to the North of Ireland at the age of 21 to work on a Stud Farm and sat in on any sessions she could find.

At 22 she received her first pay and aimed only to work as a musician from there on in. Traditional music was the only open door at that time and she was very fortunate to play music with a variety of talented musicians from all genres.

Elsa completed a Masters in Irish Traditional Music in Limerick university in 2004

Elsa Jean McTaggart and Gary Lister

Gran Canaria was next on the Cards, when she was invited to join a four piece Irish band. She then progressed to working solo, using guitar, fiddle, drum machine and the loop pedal. Since then Elsa has worked in numerous and varied bands and duos, Scottish, folk, trad, Irish, blues, jazz, country etc. Her Original music is an eclectic mix of all these influences.

In 2008, Elsa organized and performed her first full length concert with a backing band. A land mark acheivment of what she would like to do with her music. In 2010, she toured as a fiddle player and support act to Finbar Furey of the Furey brothers, a 6 week tour in Scotland and from then on, began to promote her original music.

2011 saw an exchanging of vows to the wonderful Mr Lister and the first of many tours (the Red Shoes tour) began.

Her music has been well received to enthusiastic listeners, having performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, with numerous awards and 5 star reviews under her belt.

Elsa has also toured Scotland, England, Wales, Denmark and Norway and of course Ireland, from community halls to festivals!

Elsa Jean McTaggart continues to go from strength to strength with her original music show and has 5 self recorded albums, with one or two tracks donated by some kind and talented people with recording studios.

Having ended the tour prematurely in 2012 (The Hat Tour) due to ill health, this also took care of 2013, but she took to the road in a camper van for the summer of 2014 (Recuperation year)... A time of 'Galivanting'!

In 2015 Elsa and Gary officially moved back to Scotland and have just completed their first International Tour (The coming home tour) with great success. The Mercenary Fiddler show has made its debut to the UK and plans are in progress to take it up another notch for 2016.

With a new Scottish Folk set and Album 'Lassie Will Ye Go' which was released at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016, followed by a new tribute to the songs and life of Eva Cassidy 'The Story' in 2017, there is nothing like pressure to keep you on your toes! Both these shows and also Elsa's original music 'Sings, Strings and other Things' will be developed further in 2018 with the addition of one possibly two new musicians on the E.J.McT Team.

We look forward to seeing you along the way.


Elsa Jean McTaggart toured with Finbar Furey of the Fureys, in 2010 and has since toured extensively with her original music and ‘Mercenary Fiddler’ Show, completing a successful international tour in 2015. Elsa received an award for her song-writing on the ‘Edinburgh Tonight’ Show 2012 and was presented with the Three Weeks Editors award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. The Scottish Folk album received rave reviews at the time of its launch in August 2016 including ‘Album of the month’ and ‘favourite album of the year’ by East Coast FM.

For a list of our public appearances please look at our calendar. We can also adapt our material for private shows including corporate events, functions, gatherings and weddings. If you are interested please contact Gary Lister (0044) 07890074307 or email garydavidlister@hotmail.com

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