Vote! Vote! Vote!

The Oban Times - - LEISURE -

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.

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