THE Borders is well represented in this year’s Scottish Traditional Music Awards, with a Peebles venue, a Jedburgh dance band and a Birgham multi-instrumentalist all up for national titles.
Voting is now open for the public to support the Eastgate Theatre (venue of the year), the Neil Hardie Scottish Dance Band (dance band of the year) and Innes Watson (instrumentalist of the year).
Having opened its doors in 2004, the Eastgate has so far entertained 2,000 people this year with traditional music from across Scotland, Ireland and even Ecuador.
Eastgate’s general manager, Caroline Adam, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the Eastgate has been nominated in the Venue of the Year category.
“It’s a tribute to the many excellent musicians who play here and to the enthusiasm of our audiences who turn out to hear everything from traditional favourites to fresh new talent.
“We’re lucky enough to be based in an area with a rich tradition of making and enjoying music, and fortunate in the support we get from a wide range of agents, bands and solo musicians for whom the Eastgate is a regular destination.”
Among the traditional talent to have graced the Eastgate’s stage are Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Salsa Celtica and Shooglenifty.
Meanwhile, Neil Hardie is also looking for votes as his band goes up against Iain Anderson, Robert Nairn and Iain MacPhail.
The third Borders award hopeful, Innes Watson, pictured top of page, who is a product of the Borders folk scene.
He attended the Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton, and graduated with a BA in Scottish Music from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. Playing mainly guitar and fiddle, Innes also played with Borders-based bands in his formative years.
Currently he is part of the Treacherous Orchestra, who have previous performed at the Scots Trad Music awards ceremony, as well as alongside sister Lori in her Rule of Three group.
Other bands which Innes contributes towards include Man’s Ruin (guitar), Maverick Angels (fiddle/guitar), Boreas (guitar) and Hamish Napier Quintet (jazz fiddle).
Public voting closes next Friday, November 18 and all winners will be announced at the ceremony hosted by Mary Ann Kennedy and Tony Kearney on Saturday, December 3 at Perth Concert Hall.
Event founder and promoter Simon Thoumire said: “This has been a particularly strong year for traditional music in Scotland and the thousands of nominations we’ve received reflect that.
“We think the shortlist is the most eclectic to date and we’ll be as excited as anyone else to see who the public choose as the winner in each category.”
Mary Ann Kennedy added: “These awards are always a highlight of the year in the trad music world – a perfect opportunity to honour some of our top performers, and the chance to spot the up-and-coming stars of the future.”
A full list of nominees in the 16 categories is available at www.scottishcultureonline.com – where you can also vote for your favourites.
Anyone wanting to buy tickets for the ceremony should visit www.horsecross.co.uk