Published: 29/01/2014 16:12 - Updated: 29/01/2014 16:38

Young Trad stars get BBC Alba screening

Fiddle player Mhairi Marwick from Fochabers is one of the finalists in this year's Young Trad competition.
Fiddle player Mhairi Marwick from Fochabers is one of the finalists in this year's Young Trad competition.

Six finalists will this year compete to take the prestigious title of BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2014 and BBC Alba viewers can enjoy the best of the awards ceremony as cameras capture all the excitement on the night for a special two hour programme.

Mary Ann Kennedy will host the event from the Grand Hall in Glasgow City Halls, which is taking place during the Celtic Connections Festival, on Sunday 2nd February.

BBC Alba’s programme ‘BBC Radio Scotland Neach-Ciùil Traidiseanta Òg 2014: BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2014’ will be broadcast on Monday 3rd February from 9pm until 11pm and the finalists will each perform for 15 minutes in a concert setting for the coveted title. Winner of the 2013 award, Paddy Callaghan, will also perform on the night before this year’s winner is announced.

The winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2014 will be awarded a recording session with BBC Scotland, performance at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, one year's membership of Musicians Union, and all finalists get the opportunity to take part in the annual Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) Young Trad Tour.

This year’s finalists are:

•               Mhairi Marwick (Fochabers) – fiddle

Having grown up immersed in the culture of Scottish Traditional Music, Mhairi was hugely inspired to play the fiddle. Her first teacher was James Alexander MBE who was, and still is, a great influence and inspiration. Playing with the Fochabers Fiddlers directed by James widened and developed her traditional style. Mhairi has just received a First Class Honours in BA Applied Music at Strathclyde University and was taught by Alistair McCulloch throughout her degree.

               Alistair Iain Paterson (Bishopton) – piano

Alistair is a piper and pianist from Bishopton. He recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was fortunate to be awarded three scholarships during his studies, notably the Martyn Bennett Memorial Award in 2012. His tutors at RCS were Mary McCarthy and James Ross, but it was the playing of his Gran, Nan Maciver, that first sparked an interest in traditional music. Alistair plays with the folk band ‘Barluath’, winners of the Danny Kyle Open Stage at Celtic Connections in 2012. He has performed solo at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and toured with the National Theatre of Scotland production “A Little Bird Blown off Course”, based on the life of eminent folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw.

•               Robyn Stapleton (Stranraer) – Scots Song

Robyn graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she studied on the Scottish Music course, specialising in Scots song with tutors Gordeanna McCulloch, Rod Paterson and Anne Neilson. Whilst studying for her degree, Robyn spent a year as an exchange at the University of Limerick. There she studied traditional Irish music, with singing lessons from Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh. Some of her recent performances have included singing for the Prince of Wales at Dumfries House and an appearance on BBC Scotland’s ‘Take the Floor’ with Robbie Shepherd. Robyn is currently pursuing a career in singing in both performance and community music.

•               Ian Smith (Tiree) accordion

Ian Smith is from the Isle of Tiree in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. He began learning the accordion at the age of five under the tuition of Gordon Connel and is currently studying on the BA Scottish Music Course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he receives tuition from renowned dance band leader Ian Muir. He is also a founder member of the well known ceilidh band Trail West, who are in high demand throughout the UK and who have just released their highly anticipated debut album ‘One That Got Away’.


•               Jack Badcock (Edinburgh) song, guitar

Jack Badcock is a singer and guitarist living in Edinburgh as a self employed musician. Born in Dublin, he spent the first ten years of his life in Kilkenny, Ireland before moving to Leeds where he developed an interest in traditional music. After moving to Edinburgh, Jack immersed himself in the Scottish and Irish session scene and now performs regularly with various musicians and bands.

•               Neil Ewart (Kilchoan) - fiddle

Neil from Ardnamurchan was taught from an early age where he competed in the local and national Mods. At 14, Neil was accepted into the National Centre of Excellence in traditional music in Plockton, where he studied for four years. Neil moved to Glasgow not long after, where he studied music at Strathclyde University. Neil currently plays with Iain Copeland’s Sketch and the Jim Jam ceilidh band, he has also made appearances over the years with Skippinish and Skerryvore.

 ‘BBC Radio Scotland Neach-Ciùil Traidiseanta Òg 2014: BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2014’ will be broadcast on BBC ALBA on Monday 3rd February at 9pm and will be repeated on Saturday 8th February at 10.55pm.    

BBC Radio Scotland’s live coverage of the Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2014, from the City Halls in Glasgow, will be broadcast on Sunday 2nd February from 5.00pm. (


BBC Alba will also screen the best of the Celtic Connections Festival with the return of Curim@Celtic on Saturday 1st February.

Festival favourites Capercaillie launch the series on February 1 with a concert set celebrating their 30th anniversary tour. With Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall being known as the spiritual home of the festival, then surely Capercaillie can be branded the house band. Drawing on both their latest material and a repertoire which has taken the band to the top of the music charts, Capercaillie flex their considerable musical might in front of a packed house. The band are joined by a superb array of special guests including Kathleen MacInnes, Sineag MacIntyre, Kris Drever, Gerry O’Connor and Mark Duff.

Cuirm @ Celtic continues on February 8 with one of the brightest Gaelic folk artists around - Julie Fowlis - who brings a bigger band to our screens, although it’s the songs that shine as she showcases her upcoming fourth album. For someone who has, in the past, candidly admitted to being obsessed by songs and who regards songs as gifts, Julie Fowlis is a generous artist on the evidence of this transcendental performance. Some special musical guests, including support act RANT, augment her regular band -the  talented trio of Éamon Doorley, Duncan Chisholm and Tony Byrne.  

The diverse in-concert series continues on February 15 with Stockton’s Wing, a trad band who dominated the folk scene of the 1980s and 90s, achieving major international success. Developing a folk-pop sound around Mike Hanrahan’s original songs, they took traditional music and made their own sound, influencing an entire generation of Irish musicians. Mike Hanrahan returns to the Celtic Connection stage with founder members, Paul Roche and Tommy Hayes, plus fiddler Dezi Donnelly and Enda Scahill on banjo and mandolin. The pioneering Blazin’ Fiddles have taken old and new tunes to stages all over the world. This formidable cast of musicians celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2013, but show no signs of ageing and they aren’t about to rest their fiddles yet. Despite their own accomplishments, they remain fans of Stockton’s Wing and join musical heroes onstage for a few tunes. 

The fourth and final programme on February 22 upends preconceived notions of where a concert ends and cèilidh dancing begins. Renowned accordionist Alasdair MacCuish and top Shetland fiddler Chris Stout host a night of songs and tunes to make something for the head and for the feet. The Great Gathering sees a brilliant ensemble cast of contemporary musicians taking to the stage of the Old Fruitmarket for a mix of high-octane contemporary folk and ceilidh music.

Cuirm @ Celtic is produced by Bees Nees Media for BBC Alba with the first programme in the four part series being broadcast on Saturday 1 February at 9pm and subsequent programmes following each Saturday thereafter.

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