Kim Carnie from Oban is a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2017. We asked Kim the following questions:
How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I have been drawn towards Scottish traditional music from a young age. My grandfather is a beautiful Scots singer and taught me my first song, Bonnie Wee Jeanie McColl, when I was 3 years old. Learning from my grandfather, and the love he had for the tradition, I became aware of the importance of traditional song when I was a young child.
I gradually moved from Scots song towards Gaelic song when I started Gaelic education. As is well known, the Gaelic culture is grounded in oral tradition, and as such, my Gaelic education was filled with storytelling, poetry and songs. And naturally, I loved the stories about fairies and songs about mermaids, and I grasped any opportunity in which someone would share with me what they knew.
Combine this with growing up in Oban, a town with a strong ceilidh culture, in which I was encouraged to sing at local ceilidhs and celebrations, you’ll find me now as a 23 year old, still singing about fairies and mermaids. And while I was raised in a non-Gaelic speaking household, my love for Gaelic song and my involvement in Scottish Music is really all down to my very supportive and encouraging mother.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award is a great opportunity to meet other musicians who have the same passion for traditional music. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people in the business who have vast experience in making a career in traditional music, from radio producers to other musicians.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
This experience has already taught me so much. Being asked to perform for 10 minutes initially seemed like an easy task. However, after deeper consideration, those 10 minutes needed to represent me as the musician I am and want to be, a much more daunting task than I first realised. A realisation I will carry with me to the final and thereafter.
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
I love singing in harmony, in particular, with other female voices. And therefore, I was delighted when asked to join Hanna Tullikki’s ‘Air Falbh Leis na h-Eòin / Away with the Birds’ project. The composition was written for a female vocal ensemble which ‘is made from weaving together fragments of traditional songs and poems that imitate or emulate birdsong’. The project is really beautiful and I am delighted to be a part of it.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the near future include performances with the ‘Air Falbh Leis na h-Eòin’ project. Since I graduated from my Law degree in summer 2016, I have been enjoying the freedom to sing and research songs, new and old to me, as well as learning from Iseabail T NicDhòmhnaill, a woman with a wealth of knowledge, who is always only too happy to share.
Why not buy a ticket to hear Kim Carnie or any other of the finalists at the Grand Finals on Sunday February 5th 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.