Malachy Arnold from Glasgow, Scotland is a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2022. The finals will be held at Celtic Connections Festival on 6th February 2022 at 5pm. Buy a ticket here or listen live on BBC Radio Scotland.
We asked Malachy the following questions:
How did you get involved in traditional music?
I first got involved in traditional music through my family and community at the age of 6. I initially learned my first steps on the clarsach with Breton harper, Tristan LeGovic, who I am grateful for to this day as he taught me the crucial steps to basic technique and the feel of the instrument. I was then taught and mentored by the wonderful Gillian Fleetwood and my auntie, Laoise Kelly, where
I then gained a nice balance of both Scottish and Irish traditional repertoire. I soon after joined my local Comhaltas – St Roch’s Irish Minstrels CCE, where I fell into the Irish traditional music world and picked up a Bodhran too.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I entered the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award as I feel it is a wonderful opportunity to present music and compositions to my peers on the bigger stage. It motivates me to put together and voice my arrangements with more effort than ever before. The award allows me to pursue my passion and share my musical ideas with as many people as possible, which I am eternally grateful for.
Who has been the biggest inspiration/influence on your music-making and why?
My family is the core reason why I play music. From an early age, I had been heavily influenced by my Aunty and fellow Harper, Laoise Kelly who had inspired me to pick up a harp at the age of 6 and has encouraged me ever since. Laoise alongside the rest of my family and close friends reside in County Mayo, Ireland, where I spend a lot of my time playing music, seeing family, and socialising with others through the means of sessions and performing – something I am grateful for.
Are there any moments in your career so far that you particularly cherish and why?
Creating and releasing music during the Covid-19 lockdown, 2020.
At a time where I felt slightly hopeless and uninterested in my career, I was lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians in Scotland, through the means of virtual recording and mixing. This brought real warmth and happiness into my musical life, which motivated me to take things for granted in a time period where I thought there was no light or opportunity.
What are your plans and aspirations for the future?
My plans for the future are to graduate with my degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and to continue what I am doing now, which is following my passion for performing, collaborating, compositing, and creating music for others to hear. The core aspiration that I want to complete is to be able to inspire others, in particular, young men like myself to pick up a harp(clarsach)!
When you are not playing music what else do you enjoy doing?
When I am not playing music, I enjoy seeing my family, friends, and my dog Sparcaidh. I really enjoy playing sports regularly, such as football and tennis locally in Glasgow.
Fun fact – I make pancakes and waffles for people professionally.
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