Twenty-two-year-old Kinross-shire fiddler Charlie Stewart became Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2017 at Glasgow City Halls on Sunday night. A student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (where he’s also studying jazz bass), he combined the unhurried measure of slow strathspey, 2/4 march and slow air with the kind of barnstorming jigs and reels that are de rigueur for this determinedly up-beat occasion.
BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Final ****
City Halls, Glasgow
Making an impression at the awards can take interesting forms: Paisley accordionist Grant McFarlane defused his first-competitor-on situation with the see-you-Jimmy tactic of distributing garish wigs around the audience; piper Dougie McCance, as befits an alumnus of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers academy of piping, performed with shamelessly gallus swagger.
Ella Munro from Skye pinned her feminist colours to the mast with her opening, Burnsian What Can a Young Lassie Dae Wi’ an Auld Man, while Gaelic singer Kim Carnie from Oban sang with velvet-voiced authority, for one number dispensing with the stalwart house trio of pianist Jennifer Austin, guitarist Mike Bryan and percussionist Iain Sandilands. And from the ballad-rich North-East, Huntly’s Iona Fyfe performed bothy ballads and muckle sangs with confidence and clarity.
The coveted title has been a springboard for the careers of numerous musicians – not least the 2016 winner, concertina player Mohsen Amini, who returned to deliver a high-powered set with fiddler Tomas Callister and Adam Rhodes on bouzouki, managing to sound as if there’s been no holding him since this time last year.