Charity single for NHS workers which Alastair Campbell played pipes on honoured at Scots Trad Music Awards

A chart-topping single and video created by musicians across Scotland to raise funds for NHS workers battling the pandemic has been honoured at the country’s traditional music Oscars.

This year's Scots Trad Music Awards went ahead in a virtual format after the planned live ceremony had to be called off.
This year's Scots Trad Music Awards went ahead in a virtual format after the planned live ceremony had to be called off.

Former Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell made a guest appearance on the pipes on the Everyday Heroes tribute, which saw members of the trad bands Skerryvore, Tide Lines, Skipinnish, Trail Wesr Peat and Diesel and Mànran, join forces during lockdown.

Now the project, which featured more than 20 musicians performing at home during the spring lockdown, has been recognised as the best original work created over the last year at the annual Scots Trad Music Awards.

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When the video and song, which was written by Skerryvore piper Martin Gillespie, was released in April to coincide with one of the weekly “clap for carers” tributes it topped the iTunes chart.

Former Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell made a guest appearance playing the pipes on the charity single.

Campbell, a keen piper and self-confessed trad music fan, is a regular visitor to the Isle of Tiree, Gillespie’s native island, where the author and broadcaster’s father grew up.

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Gillespie said: “When the idea was put to me to write Everyday Heroes, I never thought it would get to number one and generate the money it did for charity. So to win this award has absolutely capped it off.”

The annual “Na Trads,” which were staged in a virtual format this year after the planned live ceremony at the Caird Hall in Dundee was called off, featured live performances recorded at the Engine Works in Glasgow and was broadcast on BBC Alba.

Skerryvore joined forces with some of the biggest names in the trad music scene to record the Everyday Heroes track and video during lockdown.

Also honoured at the awards, for best online project, was fiddler Duncan Chisholm, who sparked a global “Covid Ceilidh” movement by posting videos he filmed of himself performing a tune from his home near Inverness.

Chisholm, who posted videos daily for four months until restrictions were relaxed, said: “Being a part of the traditional music community is incredibly important to me. In a word of hashtags, algorithms and followers, we can never forget the true importance of human connection.”

Highland musician Anna Massie was recognised for her spoof home-made news bulletins as the “Black Isle Correspondent,” which she has made more than 100 instalments of to date.

She said: “I spent lockdown at home in the Black Isle with my mum and dad, and it was the very best place for me to be, I had a brilliant time with them. So the biggest thank you goes to Bob and Toots, who got so willingly involved in all the carry on.”

Alistair Heather and Mary Ann Kennedy hosted this year's Scots Trad Music Awards, which were broadcast live on BBC Alba. Picture: Sean Purser
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Hebridean folk-rock band Peat & Diesel, named best live act last year, took the title for best video for their promo for fans’ favourite “Calum Dan's Transit Van.”

Another Highland musician, Hamish Napier, won the album of the year title for The Woods, the latest in a series of releases inspired by his native Strathspey.

Glasgow-based harpist and pianist Rebecca Hill was named best newcomer. Siobhan Miller won Scots singer of the year, Josie Duncan took the best music tutor title and Fionnag NicChoinnich was crowned best Gaelic singer.

Awards founder Simon Thoumire said: “The arrival of Covid-19 has required a massive change for us all and impacted in so many different ways. Everyone has worked together tirelessly to maintain, pivot and bring our music online right through this year, culminating in BBC’s Alba’s fantastic broadcast of Na Trads.”

Skerryvore

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