Island musicians up for Scots Trad Awards

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LAST year the crown of Composer of the Year was taken by Lewis musician Iain Morrison – and this year North Uist based talent Anna Wendy Stevenson is in the running for the prestigious title through the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2011.

Anna Wendy, who directs the traditional music course at the Lews Castle College Benbecula Campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands, has been nominated for her work ‘My Edinburgh’ – First Minister Alex Salmond’s music of choice!

The album features a series of musical postcards of Anna Wendy’s home-town, her original work combining lyrical melody with evocative prose.

Commissioned by, and first performed at, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, Anna Wendy says of the works creation: “I was brought up in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, and while writing this piece, lived in a little nest of a flat, high up, right next to the Castle.

“I have drawn inspiration from various locations, architectures, festivals, but most of all from the people I’ve met through my musical life in pubs, such as Edinburgh’s famous Sandy Bell’s.”

A versatile and sought after performer on both violin and fiddle, Anna Wendy has toured globally with folk groups Fine Friday and Anam; as well as collaborated with such high profile artists as Mike Scott (Waterboys), Dougie McLean, piping virtuoso Fred Morrison, and the all-star True North Orchestra.

However, Anna Wendy needs your help to grab the Composer of the Year award – a title that seems destined for her as a third generation Scottish composer following her grandfather Ronald Stevenson and aunt Savourna Stevenson.

To cast your vote for Anna Wendy, visit www.scottishcultureonline.com/vote-now-in-the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards-2011

Anna Wendy isn’t the only Western Isles talent to feature in this year’s Scots Trad Music Awards nominations however.

Carloway lad Norrie MacIver is in with a chance of scooping the Gaelic Singer of the Year title – so there’s another vote to cast!

From 2005 to 2011 Norrie was the voice of group Bodega – and the singer first tasted Scots Trad Music success when the band won the Scottish Folk Band of the Year award in 2009.

Now Norrie fronts the Gaelic man-band Manran, who hit the headlines earlier this year in their bid to get their first Gaelic single – Latha Math – to number one. The boys succeeded as the track hit the top spot in the UK singer/songwriter charts.

Manran are also in the running for a Scots Trad award, featuring in the Album of the Year nominees.

Going head to head with Norrie in the Gaelic Singer of the Year category however is South Uist’s Gillebride MacMillan.

Currently working in the Celtic and Gaelic Department at Glasgow University, Gillebride is described as having a voice “that wine writers would love to set their vocabularies loose on – mahogany richness with hints of sea salt, perhaps – and he has a way of singing in Gaelic that conveys the gist and tone of a song by subtle inflection.”

And last but by no means least, Lewis stalwart Alastair White has been nominated alongside his Battlefield Band mates in the Scottish Folk Band of the Year category.

Voting closes next Friday, November 18, so get logged on now and make this a year for island winners!