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Votes now open for MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards – ceremony for Aberdeen this year

By Margaret Chrystall

ARE you ready to get your votes in for this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards?

Hands Up for Trad, organising body of the awards, has announced the artists and bands shortlisted for 2019’s prestigious awards, with voting opening from 10am today (Monday, November 4).

A staple in the traditional music calendar, the ceremony will this year take place in Aberdeen Music Hall on Saturday, December 7 at 7pm and with tickets flying fast the awards will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA and streamed worldwide on BBC iPlayer.

Presented by Mary Ann Kennedy and Kim Carnie, the high impact evening of awards decided by industry experts will include exciting live music performances by Skerryvore, the current BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the year, Benedict Morris, Heisk, Aberdeenshire Youth Band, Kris Drever, Sian and Robyn Stapleton.

Also punctuating the renowned annual awards ceremony which famously has the audience up on its feet will be Session A9, Mairi Campbell and the Pendulum Band (of Sex And The City’s Auld Lang Syne fame), and Susan MacFadyen Scottish Dance Band.

Event founder and promoter, Simon Thoumire, said: “As always, the Trad Awards amaze me. It shows the strength of the scene, breadth of talent and sheer scale of the industry. We are really excited to announce two new awards this year, each with important recognition; The Trad Video of The Year and Musician of The Year.”

Among the 17 awards up for grabs at the annual music Oscars is the mighty Belhaven Bursary for Innovation.

“The largest cash prize in Scottish music, financially matched only by the Mercury Prize, it rewards innovative musicians with a career-changing investment of £25,000 to support the winning act to progress unique ideas and empower creation.

Previous winners were Elephant Sessions in 2017, and Talisk in 2018. On top of this, the award is also accompanied by the brewing of a collaboration ale with the winner’s name, alongside an appearance at the legendary Belhaven Brewery Post Parade Party in New York during Tartan Week.

The Belhaven fund is supported by Showcase Scotland Expo, an organisation backing the international development of Scottish-based artists, in association with Creative Scotland, and the bursary is awarded to bands or artists chosen through a panel of industry experts.

Tickets are priced £25 (+booking fee), and concessions are available via Aberdeen Music Hall Box Office on 01224 641122, or visit: https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/whats-on/all-shows/the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards/2734

Communications manager for MG ALBA, Murdo MacSween, said: “It’s a really exciting time for trad music in Scotland and MG ALBA are delighted to support this world-class talent. These acts are all fantastic ambassadors for Scotland, our indigenous languages and our strong cultural identities and it’s fantastic that we can champion them like this.”

Alan Morrison, head of music, Creative Scotland said: “I never cease to be amazed by the sheer breadth of talent in every category of the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. These are the people who keep Scotland’s musical heritage alive at a grassroots level by kindling the community spirit, the people who put Scotland on the global map by taking our most distinctive music out around the world. Creative Scotland is proud to sponsor the Music Tutor of the Year Award on behalf of the Youth Music Initiative – there’s nothing more exciting than passing our traditions on to the next generation and seeing how they make our age-old music their own.”

Gordon Muir, marketing controller at Belhaven Brewery said: “Belhaven are delighted to be supporting the Scottish traditional music scene with the third edition of the Belhaven Bursary. This scene is full of exciting talent and we’re thrilled to be able to help encourage its continued innovation through this prize, which will give another great act a change to grow their profile and invest in taking new creative risks. The standard of artists on the shortlist is outstanding and we’re really looking forward to working with the winners over the year ahead.”

Stuart Fleming, PRS for music senior membership manager, Scotland & Northern Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards once again.

“In particular, it’s fantastic that four of our most exciting female composers have been shortlisted for the PRS for music composer of the year award and I wish them all the best of luck.”

The shortlist is:

Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD

Beyond, by Talisk

Drawn From Deep Water, by Gnoss

Free One, by Kinnaris Quintet

Frenzy of the Meeting, by Breabach

Laws Of Motion, by Karine Polwart, Steven Polwart & Inge Thomson

Mercury, by Siobhan Miller

Neath the Gloaming Star, by Hannah Rarity

Steer By The Stars, by Skipinnish

The Reeling, by Brìghde Chaimbeul

What Makes You, by Elephant Sessions

Belhaven Bursary for Innovation


Kinnaris Quintet



Ross Ainslie


Karine Polwart

Project Smok


Treacherous Orchestra

Club of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS)

Largs Folk Nights

Sutherland Sessions

Button and Bows Accordion and Fiddle club

Montrose Folk Club

Composer of the Year, sponsored by PRS for Music

Catriona Hawksworth

Hayley Keenan

Jenna Reid

Mischa MacPherson

Community Project of the Year

Blazin’ in Beauly

Kin in the community

SEALL Festival of Small Halls held on Skye last November.

Bogha Frois

Event of the Year, sponsored by VisitScotland

Scotland at Lorient - Fèis Rois

Tiree Music Festival

Alba Choir at Eurovision

Under Canvas in partnership with Eden Court

Gaelic Singer of the Year, sponsored by The Highland Society of London

Brian O’Headra

Ceitlin Lilidh

Kim Carnie

Mary Ann Kennedy

Musician of the Year, sponsored by The University of the Highlands and Islands

Adam Sutherland

Jenn Butterworth

Paul Anderson

Ross B Wilson

Signy Jakobsdottir

Tom Oakes

Live Act of the Year, sponsored by Greentrax Recordings

Peat and Diesel




The Outside Track

Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association Award

Amy Papiransky

Dougie Mackenzie

Steve Byrne

Fiona Ross

Scottish Dance Band of the Year, sponsored by National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs

The Cruickshank Family Band

Ewan Galloway Scottish Dance Band

Gary Sutherland Scottish Dance Band

Scott Band Scottish Dance Band

Scottish Folk Band of the Year, sponsored by Threads of Sound

Blazin Fiddles


Iona Fyfe Trio

Tannahill Weavers

Scottish Pipe Band of the Year, sponsored by the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust

Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band

Inverary and District Pipe Band

Closkelt Pipe Band

Dollar Academy

Trad Video of the Year

Fair Weather Beggar by Claire Hastings

Heroes – Tide Lines

Hope in the Chaos by Ross Ainslie and Malcolm Jones

Playlist East West by Shooglenifty featuring Tanxugueiras

Music Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Creative Scotland's Youth Music Initiative

Claire Gullan

Iain Ruari Finlayson, Skye Schools

Ingrid Henderson

Louise Hunter

Sharon Hassan

Up and Coming Artist of the Year, sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Calum Jones and the trad project



Man of the Minch

Venue of the Year, sponsored by Musicians' Union

An Tobar (Mull)

Soundhouse at the Traverse (Edinburgh)

St Margaret’s Braemar

The String Cafe (Lerwick)

Here is the link so you can go and vote for your favourites:https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/scotstrad2019

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