Vote! Vote! Vote!
As I write this week’s article, the world is gripped with excitement, trepidation and passion as those eligible across the globe are casting their votes in one of the most hotly contested, closely fought and divisive ballots in history. On one side, terrible hair styling, excessive lifestyle and questionable attitudes towards women; on the other, an untidy e-mail trail, a dodgy track-record on foreign affairs and inseparable links with the political elite. So will it be Skerryvore or Mànran who win Live Act of the Year at the Trad Awards? At least these bands are both worthy candidates for the position unlike the choices in the pantomime unfolding on the other side of the Atlantic. Indeed if you are not a fan of either of these bands then there are other good alternatives in the category! I am sure the Americans wish they had a few other choices in the presidential category!
Last week, voting for the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards got underway and is open until Friday the 18th of November. The climax of the event takes place with an awards night that returns to the Caird Hall, Dundee on the 3rd of December. With the first such event taking place in Edinburgh in 2003, these awards have become a major feature in the calendar of traditional music, providing a great opportunity to celebrate the industry’s achievements and give a platform to market the music of Scotland to a wider audience.
There are many strands to the awards and every year they provide an exciting journey in finding out, firstly, who has been nominated and then following the various campaigns by artists, bands, community groups and organisations to garner votes. Those jousting to win the coveted “gongs” always carry this out with good humour and with much inter-nominee respect.
The value of being nominated or winning is rightly considerable. For a Community Group, it can give recognition for years of work by volunteers; for a Music Tutor, it can give acknowledgement of the generosity of passing on skills to countless learners; for young bands, it can give huge encouragement to continue on their musical path; to established bands, it can be a very useful endorsement and strong marketing tool and to stalwarts of the industry in can give much deserved credit for a career of hard work.
One of the most important components of the Trad Awards is the appointment of deserving candidates to the Scottish Music Hall of Fame. The function of this is to honour those whose lives have been spent preserving, championing and nurturing traditional music in various ways locally, nationally and internationally. This is a fitting way of recognising those who would not dream of seeking the limelight for themselves.
As with all democratic affairs, the most important thing is to get out and vote. Go online and search for hand supfortrad and follow the links. More coverage of the process and a feature on the man behind the event will follow.