PUPILS from Tain Royal Academy joined more established acts from the folk scene such as Blazin’ Fiddles and Battlefield Band in collecting prizes at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in Aberdeen at the weekend.
The school’s own band, Gizzen Briggs, won the award for Community Project of The Year, while other north winners at this year event included Kinlochewe-raised Rachel Walker, who was named Gaelic Singer of The Year, Corrina Hewat, originally from the Black Isle, who received the Music Tutor of The Year Award for her work in the Borders, and Ullapool Pipe Band, named Pipe Band of The Year.
Blazin’ Fiddles were named Folk Band of the Year with band founder-member Bruce MacGregor also picking up the Trad Music in the Media Award for his BBC Radio Scotland show, Travelling Folk.
The Blazin’ Fiddles award was one of three jointly won by members of Fort William’s Henderson family.
As well as Blazer Allan, sister Megan collected the Live Act Award as a member of Breabach and brother Ewen was a winner of the Album of The Year Award with Battlefield Band.
Inverness’s Bruce MacGregor admitted he was surprised, but delighted to collect two awards on the night.
"The band award ties in really well with the new album, Six, coming out early next year," he added.
Blazin’ Fiddles has already collected Trad Awards for Live Act, Album and the annual Blazin’ in Beauly fiddle school in the events category.
"It’s not bad considering we weren’t meant to be a band at all," MacGregor pointed out.
Blazin’ Fiddles began in 1998 in what was supposed to be a one-off project for the Year of Highland Culture showcasing the various fiddle styles of the Highlands and Islands, but proved so popular that 15 years ago it still going strong although with some changes of line-up.
The new album, which will be released in late January and launched with a concert at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, is the first to be recorded with new members Anna Massie and Angus Lyon.
"They’ve brought quite a lot of new blood to the band and although Jenna Reid played on the last album, a lot of it was already set up by the time she joined us so the sound is different," MacGregor added.
Blazin’ Fiddles will also appear at Eden Court theatre in Inverness on Friday 14th March 2014.
MacGregor was also delighted with the award for the long-running Travelling Folk.
"The programme has changed since I took over from Archie Fisher," he acknowledged.
"There is a lot more world music now, which I know isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but you have to move with the times. If you look at Celtic Connections, you can see how much world music has become a part of the programme."
However, although the Trad Music Awards showed the strength of folk music in Scotland, MacGregor added a word of caution.
"Like a lot of things, it’s difficult getting audiences out at night and it’s increasingly hard for bands to make a living," he warned.
"There’s a big discussion to be had on how Creative Scotland can help get people out of their homes and into gigs."
2013 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Award Winners
Album of the Year: Room Enough For All by Battlefield Band
Composer of the Year: Donald Shaw
Community Project of the Year: Gizzen Briggs (Tain Royal Academy)
Event of the Year: Tiree Music Festival
Gaelic Singer of the Year: Rachel Walker
Instrumentalist of the Year: Chris Stout (Shetland)
Live Act of the Year: Breabach
Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year: Siobhan Miller
Scottish Dance Band of the Year: Trail West
Scottish Folk Band of the Year: Blazin’ Fiddles
Pipe Band of the Year: Ullapool and District Junior Pipe Band
Trad Music in the Media: BBC Radio Scotland Travelling Folk
Music Tutor of the Year: Corrina Hewat
Up and Coming Artist of the Year: Robert Robertson
Venue of the Year: National Piping Centre, Glasgow