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The SAY Award: Live at the Longlist 2019 line-up announced

Published: 30 May 2019

Kobi Onyame

Scotland’s national music prize, The SAY Award, have announced today that the highly anticipated Live at the Longlist event will take place at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on Friday 26th July. The event will feature live performances from some of Scotland’s best creative talent and SAY alumni, including C Duncan, Kobi Onyame and a special collaboration between Idlewild’s Rod Jones and Modern Studies. The twenty outstanding Scottish albums that will make up The SAY Award Longlist for 2019 will be exclusively revealed on a night celebrating the incredible strength and diversity of Scottish music.

Rod Jones of Idlewild said of the event: “I’m really excited to be collaborating with Modern Studies. I’m a big fan of their ‘Welcome Strangers’ album and the way they interweave folk, classical and pop. I look forward to seeing what we can bring to each other’s songs…” Announced in front of a live audience by hosts Vic Galloway and Nicola Meighan, Live at the Longlist ensures music fans are the first to know which albums make up this year’s coveted list. The live gig will be raising funds for Help Musicians Scotland – The SAY Award’s charity partner for 2019 –ensuring it is a night of celebration, recognition and inclusivity for all in the Scottish music industry. Album submissions close on 31 May 2019, with over 240 albums already submitted. Submit now at www.sayaward.com.

Now in its eighth year, The SAY Award will move to the capital city for the first time. Live at the Longlist gets things underway with an incredible bill of previously nominated artists including C Duncan, Kobi Onyame plus a special collaboration between Idlewild’s Rod Jones and Modern Studies.

Shortlisted in both 2016 and 2017 for his albums ‘Architect’ and ‘The Midnight Sun’, C Duncan will perform following the release of his third album ‘Health’ earlier this year. ‘Health’ saw the Scottish multi-instrumentalist step out of  his bedroom studio and work with other producers, engineers and musicians for the first time. Warm and harmonically rich, C Duncan delightfully juxtaposes the vibrant and wholesome aesthetic of the album with an often-darker lyrical undertone, pushing himself to refine and explore new ways of writing. ‘Health’ sees C Duncan evolve and expand his parameters in mesmerising fashion meaning his performance at Live at the Longlist will be incredibly special.

Fresh from an appearance at The Great Escape earlier this month, Scottish-based Ghanaian artist Kobi Onyame will perform material from his ‘GOLD’ LP, which was Shortlisted for The SAY Award last year. Blending his Ghanaian heritage with hip-hop undertones, ‘GOLD’ sonically takes the listener on a journey. Kobi Onyame expertly captures the afrobeat rhythms of the 1960s and 70s using percussions and brass melodies with an originality that somehow has its roots in the past and present simultaneously. An artist on the rise, Kobi Onyame’s set at Live at the Longlist will truly celebrate the depth and diversity of Scotland’s musical landscape.

Kobi Onyame said: “Really looking forward to rocking out at Live at the Longlist this year. The SAY Award put a lot of attention on my album and I can’t wait to perform and also see who made the Longlist this year.”

Meanwhile, two of Scotland’s finest talents and previously nominated artists will team up for a special collaboration on the night, highlighting everything which makes The SAY Award so special to Scotland’s music industry. Modern Studies, whose beguiling second LP ‘Welcome Strangers’  is  an elemental and often spectral world of contrasting tones and hues will perform with Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones. The iconic Scottish outfit unveiled their eighth studio album earlier this year; an album which saw them team up once again with the producer of their seminal record ‘The Remote Part’, Dave Eringa.

Modern Studies said: “Many’s the sweaty jump-about we’ve had in our ranks to some of Rod’s classic riffs over the years - we’re excited to get the chance to collaborate with him for a performance at such a great venue, and looking forward to putting something really special together.” The night will also feature a special DJ set from Tallah Brash, Music Editor at The Skinny. With a vast amount of experience in the music industry, Tallah Brash runs a pre-club party night called Supper Club at The Safari Lounge where she plays top records and promotes top local electronic acts.

With album submissions closing at midnight tomorrow (31 May), there has already been an incredible 260 eligible albums confirmed. There is still time for musicians, fans and labels to submit eligible albums for consideration to The SAY Award website, with no cost attached to submitting. Live at the Longlist will announce which twenty albums are in the running to be Shortlisted, with the final winning artist collecting a £20,000 cash prize and nine runners up each awarded £1,000. The SAY Award is an integral part of the Scottish music industry which celebrates, promotes and rewards the most outstanding Scottish albums each year. To date, the award has distributed over £203,000 in prize money.

Once submissions close and all eligible albums have been collated, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’, chosen from sectors including journalism, broadcast and radio, music retail and live music venues, will consider the titles from The SAY Award’s Eligible Albums list, nominating their five favourite albums and ranking them in order of preference. ‘Nominators’ include specialists in a variety of genres, such as jazz, classical, electronic and traditional folk, as well as key influencers from elsewhere in the arts. The SMIA assigns a score to each title in a Nominator’s Top 5, before announcing the 20 highest scoring albums as The SAY Award Longlist for 2019 on 26 July.

The Longlist is then whittled down to a Shortlist of 10 albums, one of which will be chosen by music fans via an online public vote and the others decided by The SAY Award judging panel. Previous judges have included the composer Craig Armstrong, Turner Prize winning artists Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz, Filmmaker Lynne Ramsey, DJ and Promoter Sarra Wild, Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan, Sub Club Partner/Director Barry Price and Scottish Ballet’s Sophie Laplane.

Robert Kilpatrick, General Manager at Scottish Music Industry Association said: “This year The SAY Award makes its Edinburgh debut, and what better way to kick things off than by hosting Live at the Longlist at The Queen’s Hall as part of the iconic venue’s 40th anniversary celebrations. “Join us for a night championing the incredible strength and diversity of Scottish music, with a stellar line-up of previous nominees performing and the announcement of the twenty outstanding Scottish albums that will make up this year’s Longlist. We’re delighted that the event is raising funds for Help Musicians Scotland, our charity partner, who do such vital work supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of artists who continually give Scotland it’s rich, valued and vibrant cultural identity.”

Evan Henderson, Chief Executive, The Queen’s Hall, said: “Making the connection between The SAY Award and The Queen’s Hall made complete sense to me, and when I took over as CEO, I made a point of working towards enticing the event east. The Queen’s Hall has long supported both emerging and established talent of all genres over our 40 year history. We have the perfect space, both in its intimacy and it’s renowned acoustics, which I feel will do our most creative Scottish artists proud when we host ‘Live at the Longlist’ this year. Edinburgh has world class venues of all shapes and sizes, from the grungy to the most elegant. The SAY Award – won by Edinburgh’s Young Fathers in 2018 – shines a spotlight on the creative heart and the burgeoning new music scene growing in this city and throughout Scotland.”

Founded in appreciation of the album as an artform, The SAY Award has illuminated the Scottish music scene since its inauguration in 2012. Wielding one of the most lucrative prize funds in the UK, the award recognises the commitment, credibility and ambition shown by artists making work in Scotland in the creation of their albums. It is an aspirational target for musicians at all career levels which can create career changing opportunities, which many recipients have acknowledged.

Developed by the Scottish Music Industry Association, 2019’s campaign is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Harviestoun Brewery, Ticketmaster New Music, PPL, The Queen’s Hall and charity partner Help Musicians Scotland. The award celebrates the extraordinary strength and diversity of Scotland’s musical landscape. The SAY Award has recognised the incredible achievements from artists Longlisted, Shortlisted and awarded the prize over the years through one bold and unifrying platform, including Young Fathers, Slam, Honeyblood, CHVRCHES, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Mogwai, Karine Polwart, Dunedin Consort and Paolo Nutini.

The SAY Award believes that an album is greater than the sum of its parts. It regards albums as stand alone artworks in their own right, and as culturally significant and artistic achievements. It shines a light on all those involved in the ecosystem of the creation of the album including musicians, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, labels, those responsible for sleeve art and more. Previous winners of The SAY Award include Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).