Graham Rorie from Orkney is a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2021. The finals will be held on 31st January 2021 at 5pm. Listen live on BBC Radio Scotland. Find out more at bbc.co.uk/youngtrad
We asked Graham the following questions:
How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I was lucky enough to receive fiddle lessons for free at school in Orkney with the exceptional tutor, Douglas Montgomery. Over 10 years of lessons we worked at classical repertoire alongisde more traditional music. Having that balance of technical guidance and knowledge of traditional repertoire helped nurture my love of music in general which then became more focused on folk music when I moved to Glasgow to study at the Royal Conservatoire. On arrival in Glasgow, I teamed up with Aidan Moodie (who I’d worked with for many years in Orkney already) and we formed ‘Gnoss’ as a means of supplementing our studies. Working with the band (now also featuring Connor Sinclair and Craig Baxter) has helped cement my passion for not only traditional/folk music itself but a love of performing, touring and recording it. It is a very special community that I’m honoured to be a part of.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I have always been interested in entering the competition but felt like I wanted to wait until I had pursued some more solo projects as a fiddle player before taking that step. That way I would have explored my own solo sound further and be better prepared. After premiering my new project ‘The Orcadians of Hudson Bay’ at Celtic Connections in 2020 I felt like I was ready to go for it.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to use the platform of the competition and the national coverage to help boost my own solo profile and promote the Spring 2021 release of my album ’The Orcadians of Hudson Bay’. After the semi-finals I felt like I was becoming more comfortable on stage as a soloist and I hope to continue that progression through the final and beyond.
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
There have been loads over the years. I have been lucky enough to appear at some amazing festivals around the world including Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, Festival Interceltique de Lorient (France) and Celtica Valle D’Aosta (Italy) with Gnoss and Celtic Colours (Canada) with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
The premier of my project ‘The Orcadians of Hudson Bay’ at Celtic Connections was a very special night and creating an album of the music has been an amazing experience. . To collaborate with some of my favourite ever musicians working on music I have composed myself is a total treat.
If I had to pick one it would be co-directing the Orkney Folk Festival’s “The Gathering: Generations” firstly at the Orkney Folk Festival then at the Old Fruit Market during Celtic Connections 2019. It was a massive honour to curate that incarnation of the series and the Celtic Connections show was a night to remember!
What are your plans for the future?
I will be releasing ‘The Orcadians of Hudson Bay’ in spring 2021 which is very exciting. We will also be releasing a new Gnoss album next year which will (fingers crossed) be accompanied with a launch tour of sorts.
Listen in to hear Graham Rorie at the Grand Finals on Sunday 31st January at 5pm. Read about the other finalists here.