Mctaggart Sisters Irenie and Elsa

McTaggart sisters Elsa Jean McTaggart and her youngest sister Miss Irenie Rose present a rare opportunity to hear these two highly acclaimed singers/songwriters/multi-instrumentalists come together in a fusion of blood harmonies, original arrangements, and stunning vocals. This incredibly gifted sister duo has that je ne sais quoi that you can’t quite put your finger on. Whilst they have talent by the bucketload, their music comes from a special place so much deeper than simply sound and technique… something you can only experience through their live performances.

As 2 of 11 siblings (3 brothers, 8 sisters) with 15 yrs between them, they bring musical riches and stories from different eras combining and entwining effortless finger-picking and looping layers of vocals and guitar, writing songs inspired by the work and titles of William McTaggart, renowned Scottish Artist’s paintings… Who also happens to be their great-grandfather!


Mctaggart Sisters Poster


McTaggart Sisters – Album 8 tracks

1 Soldiers Return
2 Stepping Stones
3 The Village
4 Tattie Picker
5 Where the Smugglers Came Ashore
6 Dora
7 And All the Choral Waters Sang
8 The Old Pathway


Elsa Jean McTaggart Presents McTaggart Sisters, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall is a show with completely new song material from Fringe favourites Elsa Jean McTaggart and Miss Irenie Rose.  The inspiration for this show is the paintings of one of Scotland’s best-loved and most famous of painters – William McTaggart (1835–1910).  What makes this show, and these very personal interpretations of songs inspired by these paintings is that both Elsa Jean and Irenie are great-granddaughters of William McTaggart.  That family connection running through the lyrics and music of the songs in this show give us a continuity that the artistic legacy of William McTaggart is still very much alive and creative today.

This show is very much an ongoing development as William McTaggart painted many works which are at one end of the scale of major national importance whilst at the other end, very personal paintings perhaps only kept within the family over the years.  The room that we are in for this show unfortunately does not easily lend itself to images of the artwork behind these songs being displayed at the same time as the music, but that is still a plan for future shows as this project develops.  Taking the title of the paintings as their theme for the music, the combination of both still, with careful writing gives us all our own “mind’s eye” of the stories created from the paintings.

Elsa Jean and sister Irenie have two very different but complementary styles on vocals and guitar which work so well in this show of musical arrangements ranging from traditional folk song to more contemporary in feel, but whatever the style, Elsa and Irenie bring to life in music their artistic family legacy.

By its very personal nature, this project really could only have been created by members of William McTaggart’s family and here paintings inspire memories of growing up in the countryside that have not changed since the days of the paintings and hard and laborious jobs like “tattie picking”.  Other paintings inspire an almost religious hymn feel to them (The Old Pathway).  Fate at times works in curious ways and it is interesting to see “Dora” which was inspired by Tennyson’s poem from 1842 now combining together to give new inspiration nearly 180 years later.  Another work, Stepping Stones has inspired a song that moves along at a pace of a stone skimming across the water’s surface.  The days of smuggling along a shoreline also serve as lyrical and musical ideas from the “Where The Smugglers Come Ashore” painting. If you have a liking for the work of William McTaggart and want a little personal insight into how his work continues to inspire his family down through the years then this is a show not to miss.  If like many of us you have over Fringe shows of the past few years been captivated by Elsa Jean McTaggart’s voice, and now sister Irenie Rose’s then that is as good a reason as any to catch this show too.

Southside Advertiser Logo
August 2019

For more information and availability contact Gary Lister 07890074307 or

The Fiddler Band Show with Elsa Jean McTaggart
Hebridean Fire Band with Elsa Jean McTaggart
Eva Cassidy and Me Elsa Jean Mctaggart Show