Skalder formed in 2006, originally consisting of Orcadians, Jennifer Austin on piano, Louise Bichan on fiddle, Kevin Gray on drums and percussion and Finlay Bichan on accordion. They played for various ceilidhs, weddings and events around Orkney and further afield, including the Orkney Folk Festival's Island Hop, Woodwick House's Third Orkney Feast of Music, on the National Geographic Liner while it was anchored in Orkney and in a Spiegeltent in Dunfermline for the 2007 Carnegie Book Awards. In January 2007 Skalder were invited to play for a Burn's Supper Ceilidh in Muscat, Oman, for the Caledonian Society and following it's success, travelled back again in 2008. After leaving Orkney for University in Glasgow in September 2007, Jennifer and Louise began working on new material as a duo. They went on to win the Orkney Folk Festival's Open Stage in 2008, support Ally Bain and Phil Cunningham in Orkney and play on Celtic Music Radio as part of Glasgow's Merchant City Festival.
In January 2009 Skalder, joined by new member James Lindsay on double bass, won the prestigious Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections. They then went on to play in the Strathclyde Suite of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow and to support Box Club at the City Halls, Glasgow. Skalder recorded their debut album, Cora, with Angus Lyon at Gran's House Studio in Lanarkshire, which they released in December 2009.
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