2021 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards winners announced

Published: 06 Dec 2021

The Gary Sutherland Scottish Dance Band onstage at the awards, with audience members watching their performance in the foreground.

The Gary Sutherland Scottish Dance Band. Image: Chris Watt Photography.

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards announced 2021’s diverse award winners after a record 180,000 public votes, as it returned to Glasgow on BBC ALBA and in front of a live studio audience on Saturday 4 December 2021.

The stellar MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards annual Gala evening champions top Scottish traditional musicians of all genres in a glittering ceremony, recognising, and celebrating the wealth of talent via phenomenal performances, which this year took place at Glasgow’s Engine Works, and was broadcast on BBC ALBA and streamed live around the world.

With live music and event restrictions in place since lockdown began, Hands Up for Trad has been working hard since March 2020 to support artists and provide alternative platforms for musicians to reach their audiences, fundraise and sell tickets online.

Denise Hill, Head of Engagement at VisitScotland said: “VisitScotland is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the Event of the Year category at the 2021 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. This has been another challenging year, during which time we have been able to celebrate exceptional music events- and the skill and ingenuity that has brought them to us- both live and online. For visitors to Scotland, our vibrant and exceptional trad music scene has long opened the door to experiencing Scotland’s culture – alive, exhilarating and embraced by Scots of all ages. This year too, virtual music events have taken that feeling into living rooms around the globe, allowing future visitors to dream now for travel later – and we look forward to welcoming them back again to Scotland’s events and festivals before too long”.

Continuing their long-term partnership with MG ALBA to broadcast the Awards live in 2021 in front of a small audience of nominees due to Covid-19 regulations, bringing everything live into people’s homes remains a huge part of the annual event.

Margaret Cameron, Commissioning Editor and Head of Creative Collaborations said: “Congratulations to all of tonight’s winners – every year, it’s an absolute pleasure to see the amazing wealth of talent coming up through the ranks and gaining recognition for their creativity and commitment to the Scottish traditional music scene. MG ALBA is proud to continue to support these artists, who have been put to the test over the past 18 months, and to help acknowledge the most innovative and exciting ways they contribute to the trad music scene.”

Following a successful MG ALBA Scots Music Awards exclusively on BBC ALBA in 2020, and the live Scots Language Awards in Dundee on 25 September 2021, the MG Alba Scots Music Awards in November marks their latest live event since restrictions began.

Featuring exclusive performances from Ímar, Dàimh, Hannah Rarity, The Canny Band, Hands Up for Trad Strathspey and Reel, Kim Carnie and Ellen MacDonald, and Gary Sutherland Scottish Dance Band, the highly regarded annual Awards give recognition to excellence within Scotland's thriving traditional musical culture.

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: This year’s Trad Awards have provided a welcome opportunity to celebrate the individuals and organisations who, online and in person, have kept the flames of our traditional music burning in the darkest of times. Congratulations to each and every one of the winners, from our most respected tradition bearers to the artists whose names are now beginning to create a buzz. The range of work done across so many award categories is extraordinary and inspiring. It’s this bigger picture - the momentum that has taken us through lockdown and out the other side - that makes the Trads of 2021 so special and so very important.”

Encompassing all aspects of making and playing music from composing, Gaelic song, folk and Scottish dance music to pipe bands and a host of others in between, each year sees a lively and enthusiastic crowd enjoying some of the biggest names as the industry and audiences join to honour singers, instrumentalists, composers, and songwriters, including the prestigious Gaelic Singer of the Year, and Musician of the Year, Awards.

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader BA (Hons) Applied Music confirmed: “As the music industry re-groups and adapts after the disruption of the pandemic it is crucial that we celebrate and showcase the incredible talent that drives the music industry and connects communities in a myriad of ways. The University of the Highlands and Islands is delighted to continue to sponsor the Musician of the Year Award and recognise the importance of the MG ALBA Scots Traditional Music Awards, in bringing together organisations across music in Scotland to support the development of and recognise the work and talent of our musicians”

Duncan Byatt, President of the Highland Society of London, added:“Many congratulations to Kim Carnie on winning the 2021 Gaelic Singer of the Year Award, but also to the other three nominees for making the shortlist. Whether in person or online, their performances throughout the year have brought inspiration and great pleasure to many, and underline the continuing relevance and engagement enjoyed by Gaelic singing in general.”

Presenters onstage at the awards ceremony

Presenters onstage at the awards. Image: Chris Watt Photography.

This year the annual Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame is sponsored by Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

Arthur Cormack, Chief Executive of Fèisean nan Gàidheal said: “Fèisean nan Gàidheal believes in recognising the significant contribution to our culture of some of our most celebrated performers and we are delighted to once again support the Traditional Music Hall of Fame. The main focus of our work is supporting community Fèisean to pass on aspects of Gaelic culture and traditional music to young people. Gaelic and Scots culture relies on oral transmission, learning from the carriers of our songs, tunes, dances and stories. Over the past 18 months traditional musicians and singers have brought pleasure to people as never before so our thanks go to this year’s inductees with congratulations to them and their families.”

Public Nominations ran online from 4 to 17 October for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards annual event organised by Hands Up for Trad, and the public votes were made online from 2 November to 14 November 2021.

Stuart Fleming, Senior Relationship Manger for Scotland and Northern Ireland, PRS for Music, said: “Congratulations to Calum MacPhail on winning Original Work of the Year at this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, for the captivating 7 Years Old. Proceeds from this track will go towards helping local Highlands charity Mikeysline, who offer much-needed services for people struggling with mental health. PRS for Music is proud to once again support these incredibly important awards, that continue to celebrate and champion the achievements of the Scottish traditional music community.”

Within the Awards and the programme, three further pillars of the Scots Trad Music community will be recognised through special awards; the ‘Janet Paisley Services to Scots Language Award sponsored by Creative Scotland’, the ‘Services to Gaelic Award’ sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and the ‘Hamish Henderson Award for Services to Traditional Music’.

Organising body, Hands Up for Trad funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, was formed in 2002 and exists to increase the profile and visibility of Scottish traditional music through information, advocacy and education to artists, participants and audiences.

Hands Up for Trad’s Creative Director Simon Thoumire said: “I am so thankful to everyone who voted and came out to support our musicians and cultural scene to bring the atmosphere and the 2021 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards into living rooms this year. It’s inspiring and an honour to work with so many determined and creative people and organisations who have continued to find ways to shine a light through such an unprecedented time.”

For information and to see the list of winners in full, visit www.scotstradmusicawards.com