Main content

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2019 Finalists Announced

If you can't make it along the event will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland between 1700-2000 on Sunday 27th January.

LUC McNALLY - GUITAR AND VOICE (Dipton)
Luc McNally is a guitarist and singer originally from County Durham in the North East of England. He currently resides in Glasgow where he plays with a number of different musicians from Scotland and elsewhere. He plays with, among others, the traditional/fusion band Dosca and acoustic trio Snuffbox.

How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I initially got involved with traditional music through Kathryn Tickell’s ‘Folkestra’ youth band at The Sage Gateshead, through which I learned about Scottish, Northumbrian and Irish styles of playing and singing.

Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I initially entered this competition in order to motivate myself to perform more as a soloist, due to most of my work being as an accompanist or in a larger ensemble. I also had to drop out of the final last year due to an injury, so I wanted the chance to perform in the final again.

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to play in an excellent venue with a sympathetic backing band, and also to share a concert bill with some talented contemporaries and friends of mine.

Do you have any particular musical highlights?
I try to find something to love about all the music I get to play, everywhere I get to visit and everyone I get to play with. Otherwise there isn’t much point in trying to be a professional musician, in my opinion.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m planning to do more solo playing this year, but for the moment I’m generally very happy with how things are going. Meeting and playing with new people all the time keeps my enjoyment of, and obsession with music alive. Even getting to the final of this competition is a massive confidence boost to me!

CAMERON ROSS - FIDDLE (Stonehaven)
Cameron Ross is a fiddle player from the North East of Scotland who has studied Scottish music at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, North East of Scotland Music School, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and spent a year studying bluegrass and old time music at East Tennessee State University. Having researched many different genres of traditional and contemporary music and having toured internationally, he incorporates these different styles in his playing, compositions and arrangements.

How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I have always been passionate about Scottish music, and the social scene that comes with it, so I began lessons on the fiddle at quite a young age. I have benefited from the tutoring of many phenomenal Scottish musicians who each had their own playing styles that have helped me to shape my own style. In addition, this variety of instruction gave me a broad view of the many different genres that exist within traditional music, and how I could get creative with these variations. The immense support from my family and my wife, as well as my education at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, North East of Scotland Music School, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and East Tennessee State University, have all shaped the path to where I am with my music career today.

Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award is very a prestigious event that I am honoured to be a part of. The standard is always the very highest and the chance to be performing alongside the fantastic musicians who made it to the two rounds of the competition is a privilege.

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I am really looking forward to performing at this prestigious event, especially as it is during the Celtic Connections festival which attracts a huge amount of extremely talented musicians and I love seeing Glasgow transformed into a city of constant traditional music. I am grateful for the opportunity to perform my own choice of pieces and can't wait to do so with the fantastic accompanists that are provided. I really hope to continue to work with the musicians that are involved in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award.

Do you have any particular musical highlights?
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have performed, taught and studied throughout Europe, Africa and The United States. This has been with many amazing musicians and bands; including the Paul McKenna Band, Phil Cunningham, The Raglan Roots Coalition. These have included performing for Alex Salmond, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne.

What are your plans for the future?
I am currently performing at Raglan Road in Disney Springs Orlando, Florida as part of the Raglan Roots Coalition. In January I will be moving to the Disney Cruise Line ship the Fantasy as the onboard violinist which sails around the Caribbean and Mexico. I am really looking forward to this and will then return to Scotland in February and plan to collaborate with other musicians and release a great deal of music. I aim to compose, record and perform my own material and am greatly looking forward to returning to Scotland to do this!

ROSS MILLER - BAGPIPES (Linlithgow)
Ross Miller is a Bagpiper from Linlithgow. In July 2017 he graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a first class honours degree in Traditional Music. Ross plays in the World champion Inveraray and Disctrict Pipe Band and is a highly successful solo piper. He performs at festivals and ceilidhs across Scotland and the World.

How did you get involved in Scottish music?
My official piping experience began in Inverness where I began lessons aged 7 in the Victoria Market. Before that, however, I always loved the pipes, I would make them out of bottles and kitchen roll tubes and march along the street with my paper glengarry following the pipe bands at local gala days!

In my younger years I played mostly in pipe bands and in solo piping contests. My first experience of playing pipes with other folk instruments came when I was at school and I joined the West Lothian Schools Folk Group, around this time I also started a ceilidh band with some of my school friends. I then went on to study on the BMusTrad degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I saw this competition as a good opportunity to challenge myself to learn and write some tunes and really think about my playing in a folk music context. There is nowhere to hide as a solo performer in this format and I'm looking forward to the challenge of the final very much. I'm also extremely excited to perform in a concert with some of my close friends and hearing everyone's music.

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I'm looking forward to the opportunity to perform as a soloist and to play in the lovely setting of the City Halls during Celtic Connections. It'll be a nice chance to perform tunes that I have arranged into sets which hopefully showcase the instrument and my playing well. I hope that the competition will open doors to further performances and I am looking forward to being part of the finalist tour.

Do you have any particular musical highlights?
I have been very fortunate to travel all over the world through music, some highlights include New Zealand, Ghana and the USA. Over the last few years I have played at many folk festivals and I really enjoy the camaraderie and watching the other artists perform. One of my favourite experiences has been playing the lament on the roof of Murrayfield Stadium on Remembrance Day.

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue to travel and see new places through my music as well as experiencing festivals and concerts both as a performer and listener. I'd love to play and record as part of a band with pipes as an integral role.

CATHERINE TINNEY - VOICE (Skye)
Catherine Tinney hails from the Isle of Skye where she was immersed in Gaelic culture and traditional music from a young age. She previously attended the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton and is currently based in Glasgow where she is a textile design student as well as a Gaelic singing and language tutor.

How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I can’t really remember when I was first became interested in music – I always enjoyed singing, grew up listening to Gaelic singers, and was fortunate enough to have plenty opportunity to learn songs both at home and in school. In primary, I started taking fiddle lessons and later began taking part in Mòd competitions. Every Easter and summer holidays I attended Fèis an Earraich and Fèis Bharraigh which I always looked forward to and really encouraged me to pursue traditional music. This year I was delighted to return to both those fèisean as a tutor!

Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I’ve followed the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award for a number of years now and always been impressed by the musicians taking part. It’s a fantastic opportunity and a great chance to learn from other young musicians as well as those with more experience. I haven’t done as much singing as I should have over the last few years, so I thought throwing myself back in at the deep-end by entering the Young Trad would act as a good motivator!

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
The experience has already been invaluable with useful workshops at the semi-final weekend, and the process has also made me think more about my song choices and overall set. The set time constraints (though also stressful!) help with this.

Do you have any particular musical highlights?
One particular highlight for me was touring as a trio with Welsh and Irish musicians Siân James and Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich. We had a couple of short tours in Wales as well as gigs in London and back in Glasgow at Celtic Connections. It was a lovely project and I particularly enjoyed exploring the shared elements of women’s song between the three countries.

What are your plans for the future?
As well as trying to get out and do a bit more singing, I am currently studying for a degree in Textile Design. Over the next year I would like to do a bit more performing, tutoring, and hope to record an EP at some point too. Right now I’m enjoying taking part in Young Trad – I was pleasantly surprised when I learnt I’d reached the semi-final so I’m really chuffed to be taking part in the final.

BENEDICT MORRIS - FIDDLE (Glasgow)
Benedict was introduced to trad music at the age of 5 through Comhaltas and is now in his final year on the BMus classical course at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His current project is a collaboration with guitarist Cormac Crummey, whilst having also toured the UK, Ireland and Europe with dance shows including Velocity with World Champion Irish dancer David Geaney.

How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I was introduced to St.Patrick’s branch of Comhaltas when I was very young by my parents. I grew fond of the fiddle and as years went by my interest in Scottish and Irish music grew, being influenced by the playing of Charlie Lennon and the late Tommy Peoples as well as Aidan O’Rourke close to home. I then started coming to sessions in Glasgow at 16 or 17, the Flying Duck and the Ben Nevis being regulars on a Sunday and ever since then it’s the session scene in Glasgow and all of the great musicians and friends that we have here that lets my interest and love for traditional music continue to grow

Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
The Young Trad Award is an excellent stage for which to display your music and who you are as a musician. I’ve always loved performing and have been lucky enough to have performed to audiences all over the world. This is another opportunity to share my music with more people so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve also had friends tell me to do it for a good while so it’s to keep them quiet as well!

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to gain more playing experience for sure playing solo rather than as part of a band or group. The City Halls are also a fabulous venue so the experience of playing on that stage will be very valuable.

Do you have any particular musical highlights?
Two of my biggest highlights came in 2018 actually. In January I was fortunate to play to a packed 3 Arena in Dublin as part of a suicide awareness day for school kids all across Ireland. It was an amazing experience and to see all the kids go wild for the music and to be part of such a brilliant day was incredible. Then in August, I visited Tønder Festival in Denmark to play with Ímar. It’s such an amazing festival, they treat all the artists so well and the team there put on a magic weekend. The gig was amazing too, I’d love to go back one year.

What are your plans for the future?
I’ve just brought out a duo album along with Belfast guitarist, Cormac Crummey called ‘Wavelength’. After a very successful launch tour, we would love to gig our music together for a while and see where that project takes us. I really enjoy teaching as well, I still teach at St Patrick’s CCE when I can as well as private pupils so I can see myself doing that alongside playing. As long as I’m still walking about carrying my fiddle I’ll be happy!

SARAH MARKEY - FLUTE (Coatbridge)
Developing her music from a young age at her local Comhaltas Branch in Coatbridge, Sarah has successfully competed at various fleadhs and music competitions. With a degree in Spanish and Italian, Sarah has been able to travel extensively and experience new cultures and traditions. Sarah is a regular in the Glasgow session scene and is also a member of up and coming band Suas.

How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I would say my initial introduction to traditional music in general was through listening to my grandad, John Grant, singing and playing Irish and Scottish folk songs on a variety of instruments he used to make such as the mandolin and hammer dulcimer. I think that being surrounded by this music from a very young age meant that it was impossible for me not get involved. I then started going to my local Comhaltas branch for lessons in Coatbridge and went to various sessions in Glasgow where I started to meet a number of Scottish trad musicians.

Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I always wanted to study music and pursue this as a career but in the end I chose to study Spanish and Italian at the University of Glasgow. This was of course not a decision that I regret and I actually met so many amazing traditional musicians in sessions when living in Cáceres (Spain) and Genova (Italy). However I would say I've always wondered what it would've been like to pursue music full-time. Entering this competition felt like it would give me the boost to get back into performing professionally.

What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I'm hoping that taking part in this final will be a springboard for me to pursue music further, regardless of the result of the competition. I'm also very much looking forward to hearing the performances of the other 5 finalists and hope that I can gain inspiration from their own artistry.

Do you have any particular musical highlights?
I'd say that Celtic Connections is a highlight for me every year and taking part in this festival this year is really exciting! Not many festivals allow you the chance to go see some of your favourite artists and then get the chance to play along with them in sessions. That's why I feel like it's such a unique festival.

What are your plans for the future?
I have a quite a few exciting projects in the pipeline as well as working with my current band Suas, which includes myself Robbie Greig Jack McRobbie and my co-finalist Luc McNally. We are working towards recording our first album which will be a mix of Scottish and Irish tunes and songs as well as some original pieces we've written. We hope to also incorporate some of our favourite musicians and friends from the Glasgow folk scene for this. I absolutely love playing with Suas and couldn't think of a better bunch of folk to play alongside! As well as this I hope to work towards recording some solo stuff and would love to see the flute gain a bigger presence within the Scottish trad scene.