'GlasGael' hip hop rapper leads race for honours in film awards

A hip hop rapper and performance poet is leading the race for honours at Scotland’s annual Gaelic film awards.

Gaelic rapper Hammy Sgith is up for awards for best film, performance and new director.

Rising star Hammy Sgith, who has been making a name for himself in recent months with his reinvention of Gaelic performance, is in the running for FilmG’s best film, best performer and best new director titles.

Sgith, who was born in Glasgow but brought up in the Black Isle, as put his “GlasGael” spin on some of the events that have unfolded over the last few months for the film, Brochan Lorn, which he wrote and produced.

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The 24-year-old, currently studying Gaelic at college in Glasgow, started using excerpts of the language in his material around 18 months ago.

His new work features mentions of toppled US President Donald Trump, Celtic and Scotland footballer Ryan Christie and fake news.

A record 103 entries were submitted for the 17 categories in the short film awards, which are aimed at recognising new talent on and off screen, and are funded by Gaelic broadcaster MG Alba.

Sgith said: “I'm always thinking of funny things to say in my head and the lyrics for this song are from my own day-to-day observations since last summer.

“I find it easier to express myself in Gaelic and it’s perfect for rapping because the rhymes depend on the vowels. So it's easy to make rhymes within the lines.“Gaelic has a rich poetic history so many of the words and old phrases are universal and already say so much about life, that’s a great thing to have in your toolbox. I like to weave songs with this golden thread of history.”

Hammy Sgith has been making an impact as a Gaelic rapper and filmmaker in recent months.

Last year Sgith worked with the National Theatre of Scotland on a new Gaelic language short film as part of its acclaimed Scenes for Survival series, which also featured the actors Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Tam Dean Burn, Elaine C Smith and Morven Christie.

He was also recently commissioned by Glasgow-based arts organisation Cryptic to produce a short film which saw him create a hip hop soundtrack for a journey through the Highlands.

In a recent interview with The Scotsman, he said: “"I decided to go to college in Glasgow to study Gaelic properly. When I wake in the morning now, I close my eyes and try to write some lines. Once I’ve got them formed in my head, I sit down at my computer and make a tune.”

Other nominees across the 17 FilmG categories include a reinvention of the Great British Bake Off by the high school on Barra, a story of a Stornoway charity helping young islanders with cystic fibrosis, a film depicting the community spirit shown during the spirit by people living in the north of Lewis and a drama focus on the mystery over a bag washed up on a beach.

Hammy Sgith is in the running for three FilmG awards this year.

BBC Alba presenter Karen Elder, one of the judges, said: “It has been a challenging year for many of us given the Coronavirus pandemic, and Èirich was a fitting theme for this year’s competition.“All the entries certainly rose to the challenge and showed us a wide range of perspectives in terms of what lockdown meant for them and how it affected them. The films were of a very high standard, and it was a pleasure to view them.”

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