Lucie Hendry from Auchenblae (Aberdeenshire) 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 Lucie the following questions:
How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I was exposed to Scottish music from a very young age as my dad played Scottish fiddle music. The earliest concerts that I can remember where from my family camping holidays to the west coast of Scotland where my parents would always take my brother and I to see a concert in the local village hall. My earliest memories were that of Mairearad Green & Anna Massie and Julie Fowlis, performing in Lochinver village hall and being in a sense of awe at how these musicians were performing on stage.
I started learning piano from the age of 5 and my teacher at the time also played lever harp which I was particularly drawn to, and at the age of 8, I began harp lessons. Over the years, I found myself listening to Scottish music more and more, and would definitely say that it was my preferred listening genre during high school, contrary to what my peers listened to!
A defining moment in which Scottish music really ‘clicked’ for me was during my early teens, listening to an album we had at home: Green Linnet Records – 25 Years of Celtic Music, and to one song in particular, The Houghs of Cromdale, by Andy M. Stewart and Mánus Lunny. I was so captivated by the instrumentation, lyrics, melody and chord progressions that I kept playing the song on repeat. I felt more connected with my Scottish heritage through listening to that song and wanted to be part of this ‘world’ which I discovered over time, was in fact the Scottish music tradition.
It was when I moved to Plockton’s National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in my final school year, that was the opening of a more creative journey in Scottish music. I learned to contribute to the tradition through collaboration with other musicians and my own personal composition. It was also during this time that my eyes were opened to the possibility of a career in music, to which I then decided to pursue.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
Ever since moving to Glasgow to study, and hearing the competition being broadcast on radio in my student halls room, I have had a vision to be a part of it. Since graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018, I have been working as a freelance musician, building my musician profile and creating new music. The competition is an excellent opportunity in a young musician’s career as it provides an incredible platform to get their name out to the wider music industry while increasing performing and collaboration opportunities.
I have always wanted to see the harp being fully recognised as the incredibly versatile instrument that it is and I want to represent and promote the instrument in the best way I can. I believe the competition is an ideal platform to show what the harp has to offer.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to gain exposure in the wider music scene of the work that I am creating and to increase performance and collaboration opportunities with other musicians. I have a passion for collaboration and would love to work in a wide variety of music settings including performance, session and recording work.
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
One of my favourite gigs was in Brussels, November 2019. I was over there with my duo, Aves o’ May, representing Live Music Now Scotland for Scottish Government celebrations of St. Andrews day. In my opinion, one of the best parts of working as a musician is that occasionally you end up playing in a situation you would never have imagined. On the last night of our visit to Belgium, we had been booked to play a St. Andrews Day ceilidh. It transpired that our venue location was a marquee tent, filled with Christmas trees, in the middle of a car roundabout, surrounded by EU buildings… I played and called the ceilidh dances for a highly enthusiastic audience of Belgians and Scottish expats. The power even cut out during the night at one point because of the generators! I will always remember that gig fondly because of the completely unexpected situation and the wonderfully enthusiastic people that attended the event that were just so keen to dance!
Another occasion that stood out for me was during my studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where group work was a weekly part of our course work. One of my collaborations comprised of harp, fiddle (Bernadette Kellermann) and nyckelharpa (Petrus Dillner). This was the first opportunity I had to play with a nyckelharpa musician and it was a truly enjoyable experience becoming more familiar with Swedish folk music and working in such a unique combination of instruments. I remember the gig that we performed our material at was so high in energy and just felt really great!
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to get an ensemble collaboration project up and running with Swedish-based harpist, Justyna Krzyżanowska, as we have both been working on repertoire over the past year for that. I also plan to start a folk/jazz fusion project with Danish-based drummer, Christoffer Skovhus. I love music theory and always want to expand my musical knowledge as well as adapting harp techniques for a diverse range of musical settings. I am also aiming to record a solo album of original repertoire in the near future. I plan to keep working in my current duo, Aves o’ May, and to organise a Christmas tour of the Christmas album that we released in November 2020!
Asides from this, I feel very passionate about seeing young people strive and live into their potential while stewarding their talents well. I would like to work with high school young adults, sharing my experiences within the music industry so far, encouraging them to respond to their natural abilities and pursue a career path that they will feel a real sense of fulfilment and purpose in.
Listen in to hear Lucie Hendry at the Grand Finals on Sunday 31st January at 5pm. Read about the other finalists here.