Congratulations to Avocet who have been nominated in Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD, Up and Coming Artist of the Year sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2020. Vote here! Vote now!
We asked Iona Zajac of Avocet the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
Sam and Iona met aged twelve at ‘Tinto Summer School’ in the Borders of Scotland. A few years later, a chance encounter revealed a shared love of the marriage between 60’s folk and blues. Taking their name from Bert Jansch’s 1979 album, the pair formed Avocet and have been performing together ever since. In September 2019, laden with harp and guitars, they boarded the ferry to Amsterdam and made their way to Studio MOOOF, run by Michiel Mutsaerts and Bart Schatteleijn. In the ten days of recording (when the passing canal party boats and neighboring Taiko drummers held their silence) Michiel captured the music.
For this album, Sam and Iona were incredibly fortunate to be joined by Ignacio Santoro (double bass) and Guillermo Martín-Viana (percussion). In Glasgow they are fortunate to play with brilliant bassists David Bowden and Herbie Loening.
‘Lend Your Garden’ is Avocet’s debut album, created with the belief that by ‘lending your garden, it will blossom further.’
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
We have grown up with Scottish music and been inspired and nurtured by brilliant traditional musicians all of our lives. Scottish music is so much about playing together, and sharing tunes and stories. It’s the music, new and old, that we love to play.
Any particular career highlights?
We were winners of the Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award in 2017.
We received funding from the Bert Jansch Foundation in 2018 to record two singles. Sam has been awarded the BJF’s Young Artist Award for 2020-2022.
We supported Kacey & Clayton at Celtic Connections at the beginning of 2020.
We opened for Ralph McTell at Glasgow City Halls in 2017.
Released our EP ‘Borrowed Seed’ with Mink Records in early 2018 and our debut album, ‘Lend Your Garden’ during the lockdown of 2020!!
We are taking part in a Songs Without Authors compilation album alongside other fantastic artists.
What are your plans for the future?
We will keep playing music for as long as we can ! We are planning to start writing our second album once the lock down measures allow it, experimenting with new sounds and instrumentation. Once we can gig again… we will have a release party for the album and hopefully start touring again.
The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, Na Trads 2020, will be broadcast on BBC ALBA on 12th December 2020 at 9pm where the award winners will be announced along with specially recorded music performances. During the day on Saturday the 12th, you will be able to watch from 1pm til 9pm a day of live Scottish trad music including Kinnaris Quintet, Dallahan, Inyal, Paul McKenna Band, Ryan Young and Jenn Butterworth and many more here https://youtu.be/amByvVzxl5E. Keep up to date with all the latest information by joining the Hands Up for Trad newsletter at https://handsup.link/Newsletter or use the hashtags #natrads #HUFTonline.
If you would like to support Hands Up for Trad in their work with Scottish trad music and musicians please consider supporting our Patreon campaign. We have 3 tiers starting at $1 a month and everything helps support us in our work. Read more at www.patreon.com/handsupfortrad