Scotsman music critic Fiona Shepherd hails the “first out-and-out dance album” to be named Scottish Album of the Year
Friday night at the Scottish Album of the Year Awards - held for the first time in the capital at the opulent Assembly Rooms - and the man of the hour, DJ/producer Brian d’Souza aka Auntie Flo, is indisposed several hundred miles to the northwest, doing what he does best – spinning life-affirming Afro-Latino-flavoured house tunes at the Skye Live festival.
Not that d’Souza could have known he would be so missed. One of the great beauties of the SAY Award is that nobody bar the deliberating judges on the night really has a clue who is going to win from year to year.
This year’s field was particularly wide open, incorporating no less than three former winners (Kathryn Joseph, Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert, the latter two doubling down on a collaboration) and a number of former nominees, Auntie Flo included, beside keen young debutantes such as jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie.
D’Souza’s win expands the SAY sonic palette. You can certainly dance to the offerings of previous winners but this is the first out-and-out dance album to be recognised, and one which channels the dance vibrations of West Africa and the Caribbean.
“The songs and sounds that make up Radio Highlife have been the literal soundtrack to my life as a DJ over the past 7 years,” says d’Souza, “every tune loaded with layers of personal memories that make it an extra special album for me.”
Award organisers were on hand in Skye to surprise him with a celebratory bottle of champagne towards the end of his DJ set – which he duly shared with the crowd.