When Hands Up For Trad, the organisation that promotes and supports developing talent in Scots traditional music, invited Folk Radio UK to attend this year’s MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards we knew we’d be in for a treat, and we weren’t disappointed. For the second year in a row, the Caird Hall in Dundee was the venue for a spectacular evening celebrating the wide range of music and song that draws its influences from Scotland’s rich musical traditions. Headed by concertina virtuoso Simon Thoumire, the hard working team at Hands Up For Trad, with support from MG Alba, Creative Scotland, PRS for Music and Glenfiddich, once again produced a fantastic evening’s entertainment.
Featuring exceptional live performances from The Scott Wood Band, Talisk, Dallahan and many more; the awards ceremony, hosted by Mary Ann Kennedy and Tony Kearney, was broadcast live on BBC ALBA and BBC Radio Scotland and streamed live world-wide through the BBC ALBA website.
Simon Thoumire, Event Founder and Hands Up for Trad Creative Director, said:
“Tonight was, once again, a celebration of the best traditional music talent in and around Scotland. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted and congratulations to all involved in tonight’s ceremony. Tonight showed it’s an exciting time for the Scottish traditional music scene, with a wealth of artists and performers, old and new, being honoured this evening”.
Award highlights (full details below) include Breabach not only repeating their 2012 Folk Band of the Year Award but also scooping the Best Album Award for this year’s enthralling album, Astar. Rachel Newton was voted Instrumentalist of the Year following a wide range of successful projects including Continuum with The Shee, The Furrow Collective‘s second album, Wild Hog; and her mesmerising third solo album, Here’s My Heart Come Take It. Kris Drever‘s own third solo album, If Wishes Were Horses, helped earn him the Composer of the Year title; and innovative Cardross fiddle player Ryan Young was a hugely popular choice for Up and Coming Artist of the Year
The Trad Music Awards doesn’t only pay tribute to the youngsters, though. Veteran broadcaster Robbie Shepherd accepted the Trad Music in the Media Award on behalf of BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly Scottish Country Dance program, Take The Floor. Robbie retired from the show this year after 35 years as its presenter and was greeted by a standing ovation from the audience as he took to the podium. Later in the evening Robbie’s contribution to Scottish music and dance was recognised with the presentation of a special award for services to traditional music, before the specially-formed “Robbie Shepherd Tribute Band”, performed some of his favourite tunes. Lewis-born singer, actress and storyteller Dolina Maclennan was honoured for services to Gaelic music, and tireless ambassador for the Scots language, Billy Kay for services to the Scots Language.
Na Trads, of course, is all about the music itself, and we were treated to an evening of the very best on offer. The Scott Wood Band opened the show with a rousing set. One of 2016’s most exciting musical projects, Songs Of Separation, brought songs from their superlative album to the stage and 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners Talisk supplied their usual pace and fire. Tayside youth band Abercraig charmed the audience and helped reinforce the belief that the future of Trad music in Scotland is on a sound footing; while The Halton Quartet made a welcome return to the live stage with their unique jazz/folk fusion and specially formed all-star pipe band, Tryst, stole the show with their inaugural performance.
Modern approaches to trad music were well represented in the awards themselves, with innovative ceilidh band Trail West named Scottish Dance Band of the Year, and Skerryvore winning the Live Act of the Year Award. Gaelic Singer of the Year was won by Dàimh vocalist Ellen MacDonald and Scots Singer of the Year by Lori Watson.
There’s no doubting the wealth of amazing talent in the Scot’s traditional music scene. As Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said:
“Across every category, there’s living proof that Scotland’s long-standing traditions are being taken forward by world-class talent – no more so than by Breabach, whose double whammy of wins puts them at the top of their game on the stage and in the studio”.
At the end of the evening, Simon Thoumire announced the venue for next year’s awards ceremony
“We’re delighted to announce that the 2017 Scots Trad Music Awards will be hosted by Paisley, currently bidding for the UK City of Culture title in 2021, home of The Spree, and the birthplace of some of Scotland’s finest musical talent”.
A town so steeped in Scottish History, and home to such a wealth of Scottish musical talent should prove to be an excellent host for the event.
Below is a list of all the award winners. Folk Radio UK would like to offer congratulations to all the nominees and award winners on being recognised in this vast pool of talent. Also, a huge thank you to Simon Thoumire and Hands Up For Trad for another memorable evening.
The full winners list for this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards:
Album of the Year – Sponsored by Birnam CD – Astar by Breabach
Club of the Year – Sponsored by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland – Stonehaven Folk Club
Composer of the Year – Sponsored by PRS for Music – Kris Drever
Community Project of the Year – Sponsored by the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust – Feis Rois Life Long Learning Project
Event of the Year – Sponsored by VisitScotland – Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival
Gaelic Singer of the Year – Sponsored by Macmeanmna – Ellen MacDonald
Instrumentalist of the Year – Sponsored by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society – Rachel Newton
Live Act of the Year – Sponsored by Greentrax Recordings – Skerryvore
Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year – Sponsored by the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland – Lori Watson
Scottish Dance Band of the Year – Sponsored by the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs – Trail West
Folk Band of the Year – Sponsored by Threads of Sound – Breabach
Scottish Pipe Band of the Year – Sponsored by The Glenturret Single Malt Whisky – North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band
Trad Music in the Media – Sponsored by Skipinnish – BBC Radio Scotland’s Take the Floor
Music Tutor of the Year – Sponsored by Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative – Jim Hunter
Up and Coming Artist of the Year – Sponsored by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Ryan Young
Venue of the Year – Sponsored by the Musicians’ Union – The Glad Café, Glasgow