NORTH fiddlers took a bow at the 10th MG Alba Scots Trad Awards on Saturday.
Kirkhill fiddler Duncan Chisholm was named Instrumentalist of the Year, while Nairn’s Mike Vass — who appears at Cromarty’s Old Brewery on Friday — scooped the Composer of The Year Award.
Inverness’s Bruce MacGregor also stepped up to the winners’ podium at the Nevis Centre on Saturday to collect an award — but not for his fiddling. He and partner Yvonne Murray collected the award for Venue of the Year for Bogbain Farm, just south of Inverness on the A9. This is the second win for Bogbain, which was also named Best Unusual Venue in the Scottish Event Awards in September.
Session A9, which includes Foyers fiddle player Adam Sutherland, Speyside-based Charlie McKerron, Gordon Gunn from Wick and Inverness guitarist Marc Clement, was named Live Act of the Year.
There was also posthumous recognition for two influential fiddlers from the area, Ian Hardie and Donald Riddell CBE, who were both inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.
Nairn musician and solicitor Mr Hardie, who died in October, was a founder member of the seminal Scots folk band Jock Tamson’s Bairns and also became the first musician to record for successful Scottish record label Greentrax. That album "A Breath of Fresh Airs", was re-released in April to mark Greentrax’s 25th anniversary.
The late Donald Riddell of Clunes near Kirkhill was a fiddler, composer, fiddle maker and teacher, whose pupils included Mr Chisholm and Mr MacGregor among many other leading Scottish players.
Also inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall Of Fame were Silly Wizard, Shetland accordionist Jim Halcrow, piper Roddy MacLeod MBE, musician, comedian and novelist Norman MacLean, Gaelic singer Anne Lorne Gillies, folk singer Hamish Imlach and multi-instrumentalist Martyn Bennett.
Among the other winners in the 2012 MG Alba Scots Trad Awards were Dingwall-based singer Julie Fowlis, who won the Trad Music in the Media Award for her contribution to the Disney/Pixar film "Brave"; Breabach, who were named Scottish Folk Band of the Year; and Skye band Niteworks, the 2012 Up and Coming Artist of the Year.
Feis Rois won the award for Community Project of the Year for its 2012 Ceilidh Trail, while Calum and Rory Macdonald of Runrig received a special award for Services to Gaelic Music.
Event founder and Hands Up for Trad creative director Simon Thoumire said 2012 had been a fantastic year for Trad music.
"We’ve seen artists like Julie Fowlis come to prominence after her music was featured in Disney Pixar’s Brave this year. We can only hope that successes like these will continue for another 10 years," he added.
Mr MacGregor admitted he had been genuinely surprised by Bogbain’s success and had expected the award to go to Mull’s An Tobar centre, but was delighted with the award.
"On top of the Unusual Venue Award, I’m hoping that Bogbain now becomes a place a lot of musicians will put at the top of their list," he said.
However, when collecting his award, Mr MacGregor made a plea for action to encourage more people to see live music.
"Audience numbers are down everywhere and there doesn’t seem to be a great plan to develop new audiences," he said.
"With the recession people get out of the habit of going to gigs pretty quickly and even with those who aren’t directly hit, the amount of talk about the recession makes them think they can’t go out either. There definitely needs to be a creative strategy from whoever comes in at the top of Creative Scotland."
The full winners list for this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards:
Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD - Cillebhride (Kilbride) – Kathleen MacInnes: KMA
Club of the Year sponsored by Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - Falkirk Folk Club
Composer of the Year sponsored by PRS for Music - Mike Vass
Community Project of the Year sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust - Feis Rois Local and National Ceilidh Trail 2012
Event of the Year sponsored by VisitScotland - Scots Fiddle Festival
Gaelic Singer of the Year sponsored by Macmeanmna - Riona Whyte
Instrumentalist of the Year sponsored by Temple Records - Duncan Chisholm
Live Act of the Year sponsored by Greentrax Recordings - Session A9
Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association - Paul McKenna
Scottish Dance Band of the Year sponsored by National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs - Deoch and Dorus
Scottish Folk Band of the Year sponsored by All Celtic Music - Breabach
Pipe Band of the Year sponsored by The National Piping Centre - George Watson's College Pipes and Drums
Trad Music in the Media sponsored by The Saltire Society - Julie Fowlis for Brave
Music Tutor of the Year sponsored by Creative Scotland's Youth Music Initiative - Gillian Frame
Up and Coming Artist of the Year sponsored by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - Niteworks
Venue of the Year Award - Bogbain Farm, Inverness
Services to Gaelic Music - Rory and Calum MacDonald of Runrig
Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award - Isobel Mieras