How did you get involved in Scottish music?
Fiddle, pipes and whistle are all just part of daily culture on the Isle of Skye where I’ve grown up. It’s a tradition that affects a lot of people’s lives whether playing, dancing or just simply enjoying listening. The community is very inclusive and welcoming. Instruments are taught at primary school and there are traditional music sessions in the local bars where the musicians are very encouraging; it was at such a session where I was first introduced to the idea of actually playing the music – I was 8 years old.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I am 16, still at school and have so much to learn about the World and Scottish traditional music. I look to this award as a route to broaden my experience and develop maturity in my playing. I feel the structure of the award process will teach me valuable skills and the exposure will help my progression as I work towards a career as a professional musician.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
– My time with Mike and Mairi during the semi-finals weekend has already helped improve my arrangement skills. I also learned alot from talking and listening to the other musicians, each with their own individual style.
– Develop my stage craft and improve the rapport with my audience – creating a relaxed atmosphere we can both enjoy …
– Exposure to a much wider BBC radio and television audience and to experience playing in such a prestigious event.
– I really hope this experience will lead to an opportunity to play in a well respected band and further develop my career.
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
– Youngest member to have entered Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd (National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music – (Plockton) at age11
– Supporting Anne Lorne Gillies at Sabhal Mor Ostaig Gaelic College
– Playing fiddle and pipes at the William Kennedy Festival, Armagh, Northern Ireland
– 2014 Summer tour of the Highlands with Feis an Earraich
– Performing at the University of Limerick, Irish World Academy of Music
– Selected for the senior National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland (NYPBOS) at age 12
– Performing at Celtic Connections with the NYPBOS
– Arranging and performing live with my former trio, at Perth Concert Hall
– Winning the Northern Meeting (under 15’s) at age 11
– National Piping Centre Junior Champion 2014
– Winning the Piobaireach at Cowal Highland Gathering 2013
– Piobaireach recital at Piping Live (Young Stars)
– Playing in Hong Kong at the Rugby Sevens Tournament
What are your plans for the future?
To go to university and combine my interests in history and music to study at PhD level – I really enjoy researching the origin of songs and tunes from the West Coast Scottish and Irish traditions. I would like to combine my research at various academic institutions with my travels, to play and learn from respected musicians within their cultures.
Finally, I would like to be good enough one day to win an MG Alba Scots Trad Music Award and the Glenfiddich championships on both my pipes and fiddle !
Why not buy a ticket to hear Séamus Ó Baoighill or any other of the finalists at the Grand Finals on Sunday February 1st at 5pm. The finals are part of Celtic Connections festival. If you can’t make it along the event will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland between 5 & 8pm and on the iPlayer afterwards.