Winners Announced for MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018

Hands up for Trad celebrates Scotland’s vibrant traditional music scene with a staggering 20 awards announced at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards (original post here).

Produced by Hands Up for Trad and a staple in the Scottishmusic calendar, the ceremony was broadcast live on BBC ALBA and BBC Radio Scotland this evening, as well as being streamed worldwide. The event saw an abundance of music fans and industry gather in Perth, Scotland for an evening of recognition and foot-stomping live performances. Hosted by world-renowned Gaelic singer, Mary Ann Kennedy and award-winning musician, Kim Carnie, the evening champions Scottish music, heritage and tradition.

Guests were treated to outstanding live sets some of Scotland’s most exciting trad artists. Mànran brought the crowd to their feet followed by artists flying the flag for Scottish traditional musicincluding Hannah Rarity, Gordon Duncan Experience, David Kennedy Scottish Dance Band, Eabhal, Isobel Anne Martin and Mr Mcfall’s Chamber, Kinnaris, Gerda Stevenson, KarinePolwart Trio, Gaelic rapper Griogair Labhruidh and Croft No Five.

The Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music in association with Showcase Scotland Expo, supports the winner to progress unique ideas and empower creation. Financially matched only by the Mercury Prize, the prestigious fund of £25,000 was awarded to Talisk.

Martin Hadden, a member of internationally renowned Scots band Silly Wizard and founder at Birnam CD presented the Album of the Year Award to musician Duncan Chisholm for his album, Sandwood. Chisholm also picked up the award for Composer of The Year.

The Community Project of the Year went to Care for a Ceilidh, ascheme for Gaelic singers and traditional musicians who provide short concerts to residents of hospices and care homes

Club of the Year went to Partick Folk Club to recognise their contribution to the preservation and progression of traditional music.

Gaelic Singer of the Year was awarded to Eilidh Cormack, a talented artist who is also a columnist, an audio archivist at Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic and a tutor at Fèisgoil who deliver language, music, arts and cultural services to schools and community groups.  

The Up and Coming Artist of The Year is an award that exists to discover the next generation of folk acts. The recipient was new folk trio, Assynt.

Adding to their list of Trad Award accolades, neo-trad quintet Elephant Sessions picked up the award for Live Act of the Year.

The sought-after Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association went to Iona Fyfe. 

Folk Band of the Year went to Gaelic supergroup, Daimh who won the same award back in 2015.

The evening also included a number of exclusive recognitions including Services to Gaelic, where Scottish Celtic rock band Runrig were praised.

The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional MusicAward was presented to Pete Shepheard.

The evening continued through to the early hours with the BobTurner Ceilidh Band and The House of Song led by Doris Rougvie.

Hands Up for Trad’s Creative Director Simon Thoumiresaid: What another great year of Scottish trad music! There is so much vitality in the scene right now and it is only getting stronger. Roll on 2019.

Iseabail Mactaggart MG ALBA’s Director of Strategy and Partnership, said: “The richness and innovation of Scotland’s traditional music scene is wonderfully represented by each of these winners. We at MG ALBA are proud of the partnership with Hands up for Trad  – these awards recognise all of Scotland’s rich cultural tapestry, with Gaelic and Scots and all of Scotland’s diverse musical traditions so superbly represented – we congratulate all the winners. The broadcast of this event, and its streaming worldwide, and the profile that gives to Scotland’s world-class talent is something we are proud to facilitate.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland, said: “Scotland’s music flows from community folk clubs to the biggest international stages, passed on from artists who have carried our traditions for decades to children who have picked up an instrument for the very first time. All of this is celebrated at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, with every nominee playing their part. Congratulations to everyone who made the list and, especially, to those who emerged as 2018’s winners. It’s really great to know that in the year Runrig brought their pioneering career to a close, the likes of Talisk, Iona Fyfe, Elephant Sessions, Eilidh Cormack and Assynt are primed and ready to carry Scotland’s traditional music heritage into the future.“

Gordon Muir, Marketing Controller for Belhaven Brewery,said “We are delighted to unveil Talisk as the second recipients of the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music. The energy and changing moods of their music and their connection with their audiences made them the stand-out act in a shortlist full of talented artists, each of whom takes the wonderful spirit of traditional Scottish music and takes it forward in new ways.  We very much look forward to working with Talisk on an exciting bursary programme which will kick off in May, including applying their creativity to co-inventing a celebratory beer and of course concerts including the Post Parade Party at New York Tartan Week.”

Full winners list is as follows:

Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music


Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD

Sandwood by Duncan Chisholm

Club of the Year Sponsored by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (Tracs)

Partick Folk Club

Composer of the Year Sponsored by PRS for Music

Duncan Chisholm

Community Project of the Year Sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust

Care for a Ceilidh

Event of the Year Sponsored by VisitScotland

Far Far from Ypres

Gaelic Singer of the Year Sponsored by Macmeanmna

Eilidh Cormack

Instrumentalist of the Year Sponsored by Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

Calum Stewart

Live Act of the Year Sponsored by Greentrax Recordings

Elephant Sessions

Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year Sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association

Iona Fyfe

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

Susan MacFadyen

Scottish Folk Band of the Year Sponsored by Threads of Sound


Scottish Pipe Band of the Year 

Inverary and District Pipe Band

Trad Music in the Media Sponsored by Skipinnish

Pipeline, BBC Radio Scotland

Music Tutor of the Year Sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative

Anna Wendy Stevenson

Up and Coming Artist of the Year Sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


Venue of the Year Award Sponsored by Musicians’ Union

Drygate Brewery, Glasgow

Services to Gaelic sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig


The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award sponsored by Fèisean nan Gàidheal

Pete Shepheard

Services to Scots Language Sponsored by Scots Radio

Janet Paisley