Congratulations to The Shands who has been nominated in Up and Coming Artist of the Year sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2023. Vote for The Shands now!. It’s going to be another great night at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday 2nd December in Dundee’s Caird Hall. Why not join us for a brilliant night of music and awards. Buy a ticket here.
We asked Blythe of The Shands the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
Clelland, Blythe & Inver form ‘The Shands’ They are all multi instrumentalists who first performed as a group at the Dumfries Music Festival back in 2015.
They have since went on to feature on BBC Radio Scotland’s Take The Floor programme and have gained great success at a variety of National and World Accordion Competitions over the years. Clelland was crowned the All Scotland Senior Accordion Champion aged 17 in 2022 and Inver aged 14 regained the All Scotland Junior Championship title in the same year. Blythe has also won various awards on both accordion & piano over the years & was awarded the Gold medal at the 2022 under 19 Piano section at the National Mod held in Perth. Blythe also recently qualified for BBC’s Young traditional musician of the year Semi Final playing both piano & Accordion.
They all have a passion for playing a variety of different styles of music and their repertoire includes Traditional & Contemporary music from all over the World. They were honoured when they were approached by world renowned accordion star, Eric Bouvelle ,to ask if they would perform with his band on a recording as a tribute to the great French Musette artist, Andre Verchuren. The album released in 2021 features solos from Clelland, Blythe & Inver and has since featured on various airwaves all over the world.
A few highlights for The Shands include being invited as a Guest Artist to the Shetland Accordion & Fiddle Festival in 2022 where their performances were well received at various venues. Clelland, Blythe & Inver were also honoured to be invited to play for King Charles & Queen Camilla upon their visit to Dunfermline Abbey. The Shands were also delighted to be invited to play at the All Scotland Accordion & Fiddle Championship’s Finale Concert held in October this year.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
We have all been steeped in Scottish traditional music from as far back as we can remember. The music runs in our family with our Grandad being a self taught melodeon player & our Dad, Gordon is a 5- row button accordionist who has had his own Scottish Dance Band from his early years, it seems we were destined to contribute to the traditional music scene.
There is never a quiet moment in the family household with many informal music sessions happening every other day, we all really do live & breathe music!
We have had too many musical influences over the years to mention them all however they cover a vast spectrum ranging from Bobby MacLeod, Tom Orr & Alasdair McCuish to artists such as Skerryvore, Tidelines, Graham MacKenzie & Andrew Waite.
Any particular career highlights?
Our career highlights include being invited to record for BBC Radio Scotland’s Take The Floor Programme & being invited as a Guest Artist at the 2022 Shetland Accordion & Fiddle Festival. Last year we received an invitation to play for King Charles & Queen Camilla when they visited Dunfermline Abbey to declare Dunfermline a city.
We were honoured when we were recently invited to perform at the All Scotland Accordion & Fiddle Championship Grand Finale Concert, with many of the country’s leading musicians present. Finally, our latest highlight is our nomination within the Up and Coming Artist of the Year category at this year’s MG BBC ALBA Trad Awards. We are all delighted to be nominated and look forward to attending this event.
What are your plans for the future?
We all have so much fun performing & get a real buzz from the audience when they show their appreciation for our performances. We are delighted that we already have a number of concerts & guest artist gigs to look forward to next year and we are all excited to see where our musical journey will take us. We have recently received an invitation to perform once again on BBC Radio Scotland’s Take The Floor programme later this year so we are all looking forward to that. We enjoy finding new sources for our music & have recently ventured into composing so we are continuing to strive for new sets with fresh ideas that will take our music forward.
We have had a large number of people at our gigs requesting that we release an album so this is something we are working on at the moment and hope to be able to release our first commercial recording in 2024.
The Shands Social Media
The 2023 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards are on the 2nd December 2023! You will be able to watch it live in person (buy a ticket here),Watch it live in the UK at 9pm (GMT) on BBC ALBA and and around the world here. Bands performing on Saturday 2nd December include Peatbog Faeries, Mànran, Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan, Duncan Chisholm Band, Joy Dunlop Band, Aberdeen SC&T Youth and more!
If you would like to support Hands Up for Trad in their work with Scottish trad music and musicians why not become a friend of Hands Up for Trad. In addition to our high profile events like the Scots Trad Music Awards, we also deliver a less well known, education programme for young people from 8yrs right through to young adults at the start of their careers. Read more here.