Malinky is a Scottish folk band specialising in Scots song.
Formed in autumn 1998, the original members were Karine Polwart from Banknock, Stirlingshire (vocals, guitar, bouzouki), Steve Byrne from Arbroath (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), Mark Dunlop from Garryduff, Co. Antrim (bodhrán, whistles, vocals) and fiddler Kit Patterson from Plymouth, England.
First meeting to rehearse in early October 1998, the band was largely formed to help Polwart fulfil a support slot at Edinburgh Folk Club some ten days later, supporting harpist and storyteller Robin Williamson, formerly of the Incredible String Band. The members had previously encountered each other around the lively pub session scene in Edinburgh in venues such as Sandy Bell's and the Royal Oak bars. Polwart was a social worker, Byrne a student of Scottish Studies, Dunlop a town planner with the city council, and Patterson a computer programmer.
Amidst the plethora of good young instrumental bands on the scene, Malinky stood out owing to their almost exclusive concentration on Scots traditional song, as well as Polwart's burgeoning songwriting talent. Within six months the band had won a 'Danny Award' for new talent at Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival and were signed to the leading Scottish independent folk imprint Greentrax Recordings, as well as kicking off their international career with a trip to the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany.
The band's first album 'Last Leaves' was recorded in 1999 and released at Celtic Connections 2000, with Davy Steele as producer. The album was recorded at Pier House Studios in Granton, Edinburgh.
In 2000, the band were invited to perform at Denmark's prestigious Tønder Festival and the UK's Cambridge Folk Festival.
In early 2001, Edinburgh-born Jon Bews, formerly of Bùrach, replaced Patterson on fiddle, and later that year Tyrone button box and whistle player Leo McCann was asked to join to expand the band's largely string-driven sound. McCann toured with the band for the first time on the Scottish Folk Festival tour of Germany in January 2002, where the band honed the material for their second album on Greentrax, 3 Ravens. Launched on their return visit to Cambridge Folk Festival in August 2002, the band's recording of the traditional song 'Billy Taylor' set to Polwart's tune attracted the attention of BBC Radio 2's Mike Harding and significant airplay boosted the band's profile considerably. Polwart's song 'Thaney', about the Scottish Saint Thenew, (more commonly known as Enoch), earned a nomination in the 2003 Radio 2 Folk Awards. 3 Ravens also showcased Byrne's own growing songwriting talents for the first time, with his Angus Scots lament 'The Lang Road Doon'. 3 Ravens was recorded at Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland, East Lothian.