Kilts swinging, fiddles blazing and the skirl of the pipes booming loudly – there’s nothing that sets the heart alight quite like an evening of traditional Scottish music.
Celebrating the best trad talent in the country was the annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, and in between some exceptional toe-tapping performances, the 2019 winners were announced.
Hosted by Gaelic singer and broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy, alongside musician Kim Carnie, the evening kicked off with a roof-raising performance from Skerryvore, the multi-award-winning ‘trad-rock’ band. A spectacular rendition of their hit Take My Hand had the whole room swaying in delight, well and truly warming everyone up for a wonderful evening of entertainment.
The line-up continued with the likes of Sian, Heisk, Session A9, Mairi Campbell, Robyn Stapleton and BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2019, Benedict Morris, who had the audience on their feet.
Arguably the biggest award of the night was The Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music – in association with Showcase Scotland Expo – which supports the winner to progress unique ideas in the traditional musical sphere. The prestigious prize, with a handsome bursary of £25,000, was awarded to Kinnaris Quintet, making them the first all-female band to walk away with the prize.
The illustrious award of Album of the Year was scooped up by Breabach who took home the prize for their sixth album, Frenzy of the Meeting. Meanwhile, MG ALBA presenter Mary Ann Kennedy won Gaelic Singer of the Year, fighting off fierce competition.
Jenna Reid – this year’s Composer of the Year – added to her long list of Trad awards by shaking off hot competition from an all-female shortlist. And her night didn’t end there – an integral part of the group Blazin’ Fiddles, Jenna and her musical team were also awarded Folk Band of the Year.
Following ten consecutive sell-outs, Tiree Music Festival picked up the award for Event of the Year. The popular Scottish folk music festival is held annually on the Inner Hebrides island, and has contributed a colossal £6.4m to its economy.
Man of the Minch – a ‘forward-thinking’ band showing immense promise, according to Rolling Stone – won The Up and Coming Artist of the Year award, and is certainly one to watch. The trio PEAT & DIESEL picked up the award for Live Act of the Year, topping off what has been a remarkable 2019 for the band, having had a wonderful reception at Belladrum earlier this year. They are starting as they mean to go on in 2020, kick-starting the year with a tour which has already sold out across the UK.
Club of the Year went to Sutherland Sessions, a newly formed organisation who provide opportunities for young local musicians to play live music and bring local, national and international musicians to the area.
The highly sought-after Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association, was won by Steve Byrne.
If you would like to catch up on the evening’s entertainment, a special highlights show will be broadcast on BBC ALBA on 27 December at 9pm.
Full winners list is as follows:
Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD
Frenzy of the Meeting by Breabach
The Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music in association with Showcase Scotland Expo
Club of the Year sponsored by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland
Composer of the Year sponsored by PRS for Music
Community Project of the Year sponsored by SKIPINNISH
SEALL Festival of Small Halls
Event of the Year sponsored by VisitScotland
Tiree Music Festival
Gaelic Singer of the Year sponsored by The Highland Society of London
Mary Ann Kennedy
Musician of the Year sponsored by The University of the Highlands and Islands
Live Act of the Year sponsored by Greentrax Recordings
Peat and Diesel
Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association
Scottish Dance Band of the Year sponsored by National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs
The Cruickshank Family Band
Scottish Folk Band of the Year sponsored by Threads of Sound
Scottish Pipe Band of the Year sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust
Inverary and District Pipe Band
Trad Video of the Year Sponsored by Ceòlas Uibhist
Heroes by Tide Lines
Music Tutor of the Year sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative
Iain Ruari Finlayson, Skye Schools
Up and Coming Artist of the Year sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Man of the Minch
Venue of the Year Award sponsored by Musicians’ Union
An Tobar (Mull)
The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award Sponsored by Edinburgh Folk Club
Dr. Peter Cooke
Services to Gaelic Sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig
The Janet Paisley Services to Scots Language Sponsored by Scots Radio