b. Isabella Margaret Dice, 2 May 1952, Grangemouth, Stirling, Scotland. While still only 10 years old, St. Clair was already a favoured singer at the Aberdeen Folk Club. She had her radio and television debut at the age of 12, soon becoming popular on programmes such as Stories Are For Singing, and My Kind Of Folk. She had always been called Isla, but adopted the original version of her mother’s maiden name Sinclair, when her mother re-married. Her mother, Zetta, already a well respected singer and writer in the folk fraternity, was a big influence. Meeting such established traditional singers as Jeannie Robertson, helped further still to fuel the fire of enthusiasm. After leaving high school aged 17, St. Clair became a professional folk singer. She then presented The Song And The Story for BBC television, singing songs to highlight traditional ways of life gradually disappearing. On 18 August 1971, at the Sir Walter Scott Bicentenary Ceilidh, she sang her version of the song ‘Annie Of Lochroyan’. For the album Isla St. Clair Sings Traditional Scottish Songs, she was backed by Tom Ward (English concertina), but received only £50 for the recording. Later she became known to a wider audience as the assistant to Larry Grayson on BBC television’s game show The Generation Game. Inheritance marked her return to recording, while Scenes Of Scotland saw St. Clair performing her mother’s compositions. She continues to sing in folk clubs around the country and in 1999 she also started her own television production company, Storyshop Productions.
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