‘Folk Oscar’ nominations for Borders folk enthusiasts.

Innes and Lori Watson
Innes and Lori Watson
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Borders nominees from this year’s MG Alba Scots Traditional Music Awards are calling for support before voting for the presitigous awards closes next weekend.

Dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the folk music world, the awards, which take place next month, recognise the best of traditional music and song at a televised ceremony each year.

And this year the region is well represented with the Rolling Hills Folk Club, The Merlin Academy of Traditional Music and Birgham siblings Lori and Innes Warson all shortlisted for awards.

But with voting only open until Friday, November 18, time is of the essence if the local nominees are to bring home any silverware.

The Rolling Hills Folk Club, based in Darnick, has been shortlisted for the Club of the Year award against three other finalists.

Rolling Hills member Ros Anderson said: “The nomination is a great reward for all the loyal supporters of the club and is a particular accolade for Ron Anderson, the club founder and organiser, who began the club in Melrose in October 2006. Having just celebrated the club’s 10th birthday, this announcement is the virtual icing on the cake.

Club membership is free and boasts a range of enthusiastic members from across the Borders who all share an interest in singing, playing or listening to folk music.

They meets on the first and third Friday of each month, often welcoming guest performers in not only music but storytelling and reciting too.

The club’s wide spectrum of guests has included highly respected traditional Scottish singers, multi-instrumental groups and artists from as far afield as Denmark, Australia and Canada.

Ros added: “Please spread the voting word and help to put the Scottish Borders even more on the map.”

Meanwhile, the Merlin Academy of Traditional Music has been shortlisted in the Community Project of the Year category.

The Melrose-based academy, previously a finalist in the Scottish Borders Council’s Business of the Year Awards, this time faces competition from three other institutions for the award sponsored by the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust.

Merlin Academy’s director Bridget Gray said: “We are absolutely blown away to be nominated. We are up against some larger organisations but we feel very humbled by the local support that people are showing.

“We are very proud to say that a lot of the students have been attending for many years with our youngest at five years old and eldest at 83 years old.”

The Academy opened in 2011 and currently boasts 250 students and 13 tutors across a variety of instruments.

It aims to widen access to music making by hosting local events including their Chrismas Special at Sir Walter Scott’s Library later this year.

The region is further represented by well-known Birgham folk musicians Innes and Lori Watson.

Lori is one of four shortlisted in the Scots singer of the year category of the Trad Awards, and brother Innes’s band, Treacherous Orchestra, lines up alongside four others in the live act of the year category.

As children, Lori and Innes Watson were members of the Small Hall Band, and now they are highly respected professional musicians in the traditional music world.

Lori, a fiddle player and folk singer, is now a lecturer and examiner of Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire, and is currently working on her latest album Yarrow, inspired by the Scottish Borders and Yarrow valley.

Innes, a guitarist and fiddle player, is part of eclectic folk band Treacherous Orchestra, an act composed of seasoned musicians who are already reaching international recognition with other bands as performers, arrangers and composers.

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA director of development and partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to see such exciting shortlists – and proud that MG ALBA is associated with, and nurturing, such an innovative, inspiring sector, and that BBC ALBA gives them the platform they deserve. Meal a naidheachd dhuibh uile – congratulations all.”

The award ceremony, organised by Hands Up For Trad, will be held at Caird Hall in Dundee on Saturday, December 3 where guest and nominees will enjoy performances from The Scott Wood Band, Songs of Separation and BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician 2016, Mohsen Amini.

The public can vote in each category on the Hands Up For Trad website: https://projects.handsupfortrad.scot/scotstradmusicawards up to and on Friday, November 18.