Dumfries and Galloway is leading the charge for Scotland’s trad music scene with a trio of nominations in a prestigious music award.
And voting has now opened for a chance to help some of the region’s best trad musicians reach the top of their careers.
Stranraer singer Robyn Stapleton, Dumfries’ Claire Hastings and Macmath( Main Photo): The Silent Page are all up for an MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Award 2015.
Winners of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award 2014 and 2015 respectively, Robyn and Claire have both been nominated for the Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year.
Macmath: The Silent Page, a song project devised, researched and performed by seven of the region’s best Scots trad musicians, is in the running for the Community Project of the Year Award.
The two friends Robyn and Claire met at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, both studying on the Scottish Music course.
Being from the same region, they share a passion for local songs and formed a successful duo in 2013, performing at a number of concerts and festivals; for the prestigious Live Music Now Scotland scheme; the Time for Traditional Tunes project on the Isle of Mull; Traditional Tunes for Tiny People, providing workshops for a mother and baby group in Edinburgh; and Songs from Above and Below, performed in care homes and day centres in West Lothian whilst gathering stories from the mining communities to pass onto renowned composer John McLeod.

Robyn Stapleton, Hajime Takahashi, Stephen Heffernan
Robyn Stapleton,

Individually, Robyn and Claire are enjoying a string of career highlights.
Since winning last year’s BBC Scots Trad Musician of the year, Robyn’s career has taken off, with performances at BBC Proms in the Park with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, on Radio 4’s Desert Island Disks and at last year’s Scots Trad Music Awards, where she was a nominee for Scots Singer of the Year. Robyn released her debut album Fickle Fortune earlier this year with a tour of Scotland.
This is the second time in succession she has been nominated for the Scots Singer of the Year. She said: “I’m delighted to have been nominated for Scots Singer of the Year for the second year running.
“Since winning Young Traditional Musician in 2014, it’s been an incredible two years, with so many highlights and wonderful opportunities.
“This has been an important year for me, with the release of my first album, so the nomination for Scots Singer of the Year means a lot to me.
“I’m thrilled to see that Dumfriesshire singer, Claire Hastings has also been nominated for the award.

Claire Hastings
Claire Hastings

“Emily Smith, from Thornhill won the trophy last year, so fingers crossed this will be the second year that a Dumfries and Galloway singer wins the title!
“I’m excited for the awards ceremony which will be in Dundee and to celebrate the wonderful folk music that is going on in Scotland.
“It’s also fantastic to see that Macmath: The Silent Page has been nominated – it was wonderful being part of the project over the past year, alongside some of Scotland’s leading folk musicians.”
Since Claire was announced the 2015 winner of the BBC awards, she has performed at many high-profile events including the prestigious BBC Proms in the Park and BBC Music Day, at which she sang alongside Lulu, Jamie Cullum and Deacon Blue. She also performed with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra at both events. Other recent performances include Orkney Folk Festival supporting Seth Lakeman and at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
Claire said: “I am delighted to have been nominated for the first time as Scots Singer of the Year at the Traditional Music Awards.
“The nomination has added to what has really been the most incredible year, and it is great to be recognised for my work.
“I will be performing at the awards ceremony in Dundee with my band, so it is an added excitement to be up for an award. I also feel very privileged to be up against such amazing ladies, who all contribute so much to Scots song.”

Ali Burns
Ali Burns

Macmath: The Silent Page was commissioned by the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival this year.
The project brought together the combined musical talents of Emily Smith, Robyn Stapleton, Ali Burns, Jamie McClennan, Aaron Jones, Claire Mann and Wendy Stewart who restored the songs collected from Galloway singers in the late 1900s by William Macmath of the Glenkens.
This ground-breaking piece of work had local, national and international resonance and held its debut in Stranraer in a stand-out performance of the 2015 Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival.
The project not only showcased the exceptional musicianship found in Dumfries and Galloway but also brought to life a hidden archive of Scots songs, some of which had never been heard before.
Ali said: “We’re delighted to have been nominated for this award.
“The whole project has been years in the making and is such a wonderful showcase for Dumfries and Galloway. It’s just fantastic to have this recognition for all the hard work everyone’s put in.”
The MG Alba Scots Trad Awards aims to highlight Scotland’s wonderful traditional music in all its forms and to create a high profile opportunity to being the music and music industry into the spotlight.
Anyone can vote by visiting http://projects.handsupfortrad.scot/scotstradmusicawards/voting/
The results of the awards will be announced at a gala concert on 5 December at Dundee Caird Hall.

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