Folk review: MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards - Perth Concert Hall

IN A Facebook post last week, excitedly anticipating Saturday’s Scots Trad Music Awards, one denizen of the scene referred to the bash as the “office party” for Scotland’s folk constituency – most of whom of course don’t have an office, and thus relish the occasion for some seriously frocked-up, liberally-lubricated festivity all the more.

Some 900 nominees, guests and audience members packed out Perth Concert Hall – itself in the running for Venue of the Year, although pipped by legendary Glasgow session howff the Ben Nevis – to see 16 prizes handed out, interspersed by short sets from as wide a wealth of performers as was represented by the winners.

The latter ranged from powerhouse Highland combo Mànran (Album of the Year) and their lead vocalist Norrie MacIver (Gaelic Singer of the Year) to Leith Folk Club (Club of the Year) and the Blazin’ in Beauly fiddle school (Community Project of the Year). Succeeding veteran bothy balladeer Joe Aitken as Scots Singer of the Year, Siobhan Miller paid moving tribute to the trophy’s late namesake Citty Finlayson, and there weren’t many dry eyes in the house either when the recently-departed John Watt’s widow Cathy accepted his induction into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.

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Highlights among the entertainment, which was dogged by technical hitches, included a sublime set from an ensemble of past and current Fèis Rois participants, rounding off the organisation’s silver jubilee, and a luscious Scots/Gaelic duet on Auld Lang Syne to finish, from rising star Alistair Ogilvy and the ever-magnificent Cathy Anne MacPhee.

Rating: ****