TWO of Scotland’s leading singer-songwriters are to lead tributes to the late Michael Marra at this weekend’s traditional music “Oscars” in the Highlands.
Dougie MacLean and Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross have agreed to help honour the “bard of Dundee” at the annual event, which is being staged in Fort William just weeks after his death following a battle with cancer.
MacLean, who had booked Marra for his Perthshire Amber festival before his death, is one of several stars confirmed for a special tribute concert at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow in January.
However he will be paying tribute to Marra’s long career - when he rose to become one of the nation’s most prolific songwriters - at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards on Saturday.
Ricky Ross has agreed to perform one of Marra’s best-known songs, Hermless, while a video montage of the singer performing over the years will be shown to the sell-out audience.
Marra had made a name for himself playing in the folk clubs of Dundee in the mid-1970s. He shot to fame in the 1980s, with regular TV appearances, going on to land support slots with The Proclaimers, Van Morrison, Barbara Dickson and Deacon Blue.
Ross and MacLean have joined a bumper line-up at the event, which will also feature performances from the Treacherous Orchestra, Karine Polwart, Man’s Ruin, the Gordon Duncan Experience and Anna Massie.
The event will be broadcast live on TV for the first time, with BBC Alba running a two-hour broadcast from 9pm.
The awards will also see the late fiddler Ian Hardie, who passed away in October, and groundbreaking piper Martyn Bennett, who lost his own cancer battle in 2005, inducted into the event’s “traditional music hall of fame”.
Margaret Cameron, channel editor for BBC Alba, said: “We are delighted to be once again showcasing the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards - a fantastic event that recognises and celebrates the rich culture of traditional Gaelic and Scottish music and song that as a nation we are extremely proud of.
“This is the first time we have provided live coverage of the event and I’m certain that the great atmosphere that is enjoyed by all at the ceremony will shine through to BBC ALBA viewers at home.
“The event will be extra-special as it celebrates the tenth anniversary of the awards and it’s a must-see for all those who appreciate and participate in the Scottish music scene.
“We’re passionate about showcasing the best of Gaelic and Scottish culture on BBC ALBA and are delighted that we can allow those who can’t attend on the night to share in the awards by tuning into BBC ALBA.
“We’re delighted Ricky’s agreed to be part of the live coverage and that we can add our voice to others honouring Michael Marra.”