Joy Dunlop nominated for a prestigious honour at Trad Music Awards
CONGRATULATIONS to Joy Dunlop, who has been nominated in the category Gaelic singer of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards. Joy was born and raised in Connel and is a Royal National Mòd gold medal winner. She is also the first, and only, person to ever win the Traditional Singer of the Year and the Traditional Dancer of the Year at the pan- Celtic festival. We had a chat with Joy about the nomination, her passion for Gaelic singing and her plans for the future.
Being nominated for a trad award is a very big deal. How did you react when you were told?
‘Honestly? I couldn’t believe it. There are so many fantastic Gaelic singers out there who are doing their own wonderful things, so to be among the four who are nominated this year is a real honour. I know that everyone says that it’s great to just be nominated but in this case, it’s genuinely true. As the nomination process is by public vote, it’s lovely to think that people appreciate your work enough to put you forward for a prize. My second thought was that it was a great excuse to go shopping for a new dress.’
Who was the very first person you told about the nomination?
‘The first person that I told was my friend Rachel Hair, who is nominated in the Music Tutor of the Year category. Rachel had been in touch with me the day before saying that she had been nominated for an award and asking if I’d heard anything about my category. As I hadn’t, I assumed that it wasn’t my year so when I received a text from Simon Thoumire asking if I’d accept my nomination, I texted Rachel straight away to let her know. Winning the Gaelic Singer of the Year category would be amazing as it’s a genuine recognition of both your music and also the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to allow you to perform. Previously, this category has been won by some of my favourite Gaelic singers so to be up there with them would be so special. As with the nomination process, the winners are decided by public vote, so please do send one my way.’
Why are you involved in Scottish music – and why is it so important to you?
‘Argyll has a wonderfully rich cultural heritage and, growing up in Connel, I couldn’t help but be immersed in its local music and language. Although I wasn’t a native Gaelic speaker, there was something about the words and melodies of Gaelic songs that caught my heart and made me want to learn more. I always loved hearing Gaelic singers performing at our local ceilidhs. My affinity with the Gaelic language and culture is just as strong now as it was then, and there’s nothing that moves me more than the genuine emotions of Gaelic songs. Gaelic singing truly is good for the soul.’
What’s next for you?
‘ I’m looking forward to a very busy 2017, with no fewer than three different recording projects in the pipeline. My new band Las are currently recording our first EP, which is our celebration of Scotland and Ireland’s shared cultural heritage and I can’t wait to both launch and tour this album in Scotland and Ireland. I was also involved in a fantastic songwriting project with Welsh singer songwriter Gareth Bonello this year and we have exciting plans for both recording these new songs and touring our shared material. Lastly, I’ve started working on new material for my third solo album featuring an exciting new line-up and I’m very excited to see how this grows and develops. Other than that, I’m hoping to further develop my media and teaching work both at home and internationally and try to reach as many new places as possible. My mantra is, “have Gaelic, will travel”, so who knows where I’ll land?’ The Scots Trad Music Awards is an annual event that takes place every December. Held at different venues around the country, the aim of these awards is to highlight Scotland’s traditional music in all its forms. The winners are announced at a glittering gala concert and awards ceremony, an event that is considered a major highlight in the traditional music calendar. If you want to vote for Joy, then please visit the following website: https://projects.handsupfortrad.scot/scotstradmusicawards/ voting/.