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Obituary; Ray Fisher 1940-2011.

RAY Fisher, the popular Scottish folk singer who moved to the North East in the 1960s, has died, aged 70.

Born into a musical family in Glasgow, Ray was one of seven children. Her brother Archie was awarded the MBE in recognition of his songs and her sister Cilla is also a celebrated singer. Ray first performed folk songs alongside her brother and went on to form a trio named the Wayfarers with him and Bobby Campbell.

Ray's first album, along with Archie, Far Over The Forth, was released in 1961. One highlight, The Night Visiting Song, was covered by Bob Dylan.

In 1962 Ray met Northumbrian piper Colin Ross and moved to Newcastle. She soon became an integral part of the emerging folk scene in the city and nights at the Bridge Folk Club were enjoyed by many.

Colin formed the folk band High Level Ranters. Ray, who trained as a teacher, released her solo debut album, The Bonny Birdie, in 1972. The album also featured the High Level Ranters.

Ray went on countless tours and had legions of fans all over the world. She would regularly return to perform at the Edinburgh festival.

Education remained part of Ray's life and she was heavily involved with Folkworks, the music study centre that was later made part of a folk degree course at Newcastle University.

Jim Hall, from Ponteland, Northumberland , who plays with the High Level Ranters, has been a friend of the family for around 30 years.

He said: "She had a huge impact on the folk scene in the North East, she was a great lady.

"She would sing her songs and her brother Archie's songs. She took Scottish folk music way beyond these shores, it went worldwide."

Julia Say, secretary of the Northumbrian Pipers' Society, also knew Ray well. Julia said: "She had incisive wit and a penetrating sense of humour.

"She not only sang Scottish songs, but had a wide North East repertoire."

Ray would be remembered, Julia said, for "her endless fund of stories and singing knowledge".

Ray was awarded the highest honour by the English Folk Dance and Song Society in 2008. She also enjoyed story telling and poetry.

As well as her husband, she is survived by their daughter and two sons. She lived in Monkseaton, North Tyneside. Ray's funeral will take place at Whitley Bay Crematorium at 2.15pm on Monday.

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RESPECTED Ray Fisher. Below, Ray wih her husband Colin Ross
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Sep 8, 2011
Words:411
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