Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my development: family, teachers, colleagues, friends, anyone who has given me the time of day, shared their knowledge, enthusiasm, honesty, patience, or a bit of encouragement. I cannot tell you how much I value these things now, or how much I might have taken them for granted at the time.
I absolutely love working within a creative and supportive music scene and I’m full of ambition but that doesn’t mean I’m not full of doubts on a daily basis. Being awarded the Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland is a huge surprise and a big dose of encouragement.
I’m delighted to see the Scottish trad scene celebrating various examples every year and I’d like to see more of what we do covered (and more folk and trad music in all forms* reaching and being accessible to more of people). I’m very aware that we have far more brilliant musicians and projects than are covered by the awards and our media (and I’m sure some of them don’t want anything to do with it).
Competition doesn’t sit easily with me, it never has. Especially when in play with the traditional music scene: we pride ourselves on being inclusive and then celebrate the few resulting in the exclusion of others. I’m interested in ways we can work together better – we’re just a small scene but surely we’re all on the same team on a global scale? Is there an awards system or communications vehicle that can reflect our diversity without excluding? But being part of the Scots Trad Awards this year reminds me to: 1. keep going with my own musical work (thank you!); and 2. not become lazy – search beyond what is celebrated (and what is commercial), for the many, many hidden gems. Our music traditions don’t rest in the popular releases and the eye-catching posters, they rest in a whole community’s relationships with their music, language, arts, crafts and customs. They are varied, they are relevant, they are inclusive, and they are valued: let’s keep sharing all of that too.
Happy we’ve bin aathegither
Canty we’ve bin yin an aa
Time will see us aa mair blyther
Ere we rise tae gang awa
*Except as propaganda for fascist or racist goals of course.