Martyn Bennett tribute among Scots Trad Music nominees

A tribute to Bennett's final album, Grit, was staged at this year's Celtic Connections concert in Glasgow

A tribute to Bennett's final album, Grit, was staged at this year's Celtic Connections concert in Glasgow

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THE legacy of a gifted composer and musician is in the running to win a major industry honour for the second year in a row – a decade after his death.

A lavish tribute to the music of Martyn Bennett, whose live was cut short by cancer at the age of just 33, is in contention to be named event of the year at the “Scottish traditional music Oscars,” 12 months on after a stage show inspired by his career won the same prize.

More than 75 of Scotland’s leading musicians and singers performed in the live recreation of Bennett’s final album, Grit, which was staged as the opening concert of this year’s Celtic Connections concert in Glasgow.

The TV broadcast of the sell-out show, which was masterminded by the classical violinist Greg Lawson, is already in the running for glory at next month’s Scottish BAFTAs after being shortlisted for best entertainment programme.

Its nomination for the Scots Trad Music Awards was announced today by organisers as the countdown to next month’s event got underway with confirmation of the full line-up of nominees.

Bennett was regarded as one of Scotland’s leading musical talents of the 1990s and fused dance music with traditional melodies and instruments. His last album, Grit, made when he was seriously ill, is hailed by many critics as his best work for the way he combined renditions of largely forgotten traditional songs with his own ground-breaking sound.

The one-off live show, which Lawson said was years in the making, is up against up against a 10th anniversary concert staged by the Hebridean band Skerryvore, which has inspired them to stage an annual festival in the Scotland’s “gateway to the isles,” Oban, after 6000 fans flocked there from around the world for their open-air gig in the Argyll town in May.

Bennett was honoured at last year’s ceremony in Inverness when the stage show created by theatre-maker Cora Bissett in collaboration with his friends and family, was named best event.

Performed in Glasgow and Mull, where Bennett lived in his later years, the show was commissioned as part of the cultural programme for the Commonwealth Games and feature a mix of drama, dance and acrobatics set to his music.

Bennett - born in Canada but brought up in the Highlands from the age of six by his folk singer mother Margaret - was the first traditional musician to win a coveted place at the City of Edinburgh Music School. He was also a gifted student at the RSAMD, in Glasgow, where – unknown to his tutors – he visited traditional music sessions.

He later developed an interest in electronic music and, after buying a keyboard, sampler and mixing desk, quickly began to make a name for himself as one of Scotland’s leading live performers, appearing at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations.

Two of Scotland’s leading young Celtic bands, Treacherous Orchestra and Rura, will battle it out in two of the most coveted categories – for best album and best live act – when the awards are held in Dundee for the first time on 5 December.

Also on 10-strong best album shortlist are the Scott Wood Band, Mike Vass, Blazin’ Fiddles, Shooglenifty, Dallahan, Siobhan Miller, the Peatbog Faeries and Lau.

Another Hebridean band, Skippinish, is up for best live act months after trying to woo global superstar Taylor Swift by recording their own version of her smash hit, Shake it Off, and asking her out with join the band for a curry in Glasgow.

Robyn Stapleton and Claire Hastings, the last two winners of the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year award, which is held at Celtic Connections each year, will compete against each other to be named singer of the year at the ceremony in the Caird Hall.

A village hall in Glassel, in Aberdeenshire, has been shortlisted for the best venue award, up against Lyth Arts Centre, in Caithness, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, in Edinburgh, and Scotland’s Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

Simon Thoumire, founder of the awards, which were first held in Edinburgh in 2003, said: “We’ve got a strong and diverse list of nominees.

“It’s been an eventful year for trad music in Scotland and we have a lot to celebrate on 5 December.”

Donald Campbell, chief executive of Gaelic broadcaster MG Alba, which screens highlights of the event on BBC Alba, said: “The mix of nominees and the geographical spread across the various categories demonstrate that traditional music is alive and well throughout Scotland and we look forward very much to ‘The Trads’ taking place in Dundee for the first time.”

FULL LIST OF SCOTS TRAD MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Grind by Treacherous Orchestra

Upsurge by Scott Wood Band

In the Wake of Neil Gunn by Mike Vass

Despite The Dark by RURA

North by Blazin’ Fiddles

The Untied Knot by Shooglenifty

When the Day is on the Turn by Dallahan

Flight of Time by Siobhan Miller

Blackhouse by Peatbog Faeries

The Bell That Never Rang by Lau

CLUB OF THE YEAR

Haddington Box and Fiddle Club

Irvine Folk Club

Strathaven Folk Club

Orkney Accordion and Fiddle Club

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

Marie Fielding

Peter Morrison

Rachel Walker

Ross Ainslie

Sarah Hayes

Sorren MacLean

COMMUNITY PROJECT OF THE YEAR

MacMath

Live Music Now Scotland

Blackford Fiddle group

Small Hall Band

EVENT OF THE YEAR

Grit, Celtic Connections opening concert

Kirriemuir Folk Fest

Skerryvore - Decade

Speyfest

GAELIC SINGER OF THE YEAR

Alyth McCormack

Ainsley Hamill

Fiona MacKenzie

Griogair Labhruidh

INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR

Ali Hutton

Mairi Campbell

Ross Couper

Tom Callister

Tom Orr

LIVE ACT OF THE YEAR

Rura

Nae Plans

Treacherous Orchestra

Skipinnish

SCOTS SINGER OF THE YEAR

Claire Hastings

Fiona Hunter

Robyn Stapleton

Amy Lord

DANCE BAND OF THE YEAR

Simon Howie

Iain Cathcart

The Full Scottish

Alan Crookston

FOLK BAND OF THE YEAR

Dallahan

Daimh

Kate in the Kettle

Bella Hardy

SCOTTISH PIPE BAND OF THE YEAR

Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band

Johnstone Pipe Band

TRAD MUSIC IN THE MEDIA

Box and Fiddle Mag

Lorne MacDougall’s PlanetPipe

Brian Miller, Diamond Folk

Port, BBC ALBA

MUSIC TUTOR OF THE YEAR

Amy Geddes

Barbara Anderson

Jenn Butterworth

John Somerville

Gillian Fleetwood

Ian Lowthian

UP-AND-COMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Andrew Waite

Fara

Gráinne Brady & Tina Jordan Rees

Innovation

League of Highland Gentlemen

Talisk

VENUE OF THE YEAR

Scottish Storytelling Centre

Glassel Hall

Lyth Arts Centre

SEALL at Sabhal Mor Ostaig

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