Berwickshire acts take Trad Music Awards by storm

InnesWatson Instrumentalist.
InnesWatson Instrumentalist.

THe ceremony might have been in Perth, but there was a distinct Berwickshire feel to this year’s Traditional Music Awards after two local acts took home top honours.

Birgham’s Innes Watson was named Scottish traditional music’s Instrumentalist of the Year while Chirnside’s Chris Waite celebrated after his band, Rura, were named Up and Coming Artist of the Year.

Fiddler Innes has seen his musical profile go from strength since touring the Borders with The Small Hall Band at the start of his career. He was at the Trad Music Awards two years ago but on that occasion saw his group The Treacherous Orchestra miss out on the Live Act of the Year going to Lau.

But the Royal Scottish Conservatoire graduate certainly didn’t leave the ceremony empty handed this time around. In front of a packed audience at the Perth Concert Hall, Innes took home one of the evening’s top awards and thanked everyone who gave him their support.

“I’m really overwhelmed and delighted to have won – to be honest it’s all still sinking in. I really never expected to come out on top, especially when I was against three other brilliant musicians.

Almost 100,000 votes were cast online in a public vote across 18 categories for what some have dubbed the Brit Awards of the traditional music scene.

And Innes wasn’t the only Berwickshire native to take to the rostrum. Chirnside’s Chris Waite is a member of Rura who were house band for the evening but their night was made even better when they were revealed as the winner of Up and Coming Artist of the Year.

“I was pretty shocked when we were announced as the winners,” guitarist Chris told ‘The Berwickshire News’.

“The other nominees were amazing- I even voted for someone else. Being the house band for the night was good fun. Basically we just had to play a 30 second jingle every time a presenter came on or someone won an award.

“We were all sitting in the balcony when the winner of our category was announced. Fortunately our singer was at a table and our drummer quickly ran down from the balcony to the stage. The rest of us started playing like we had for the other winners but they got us to stop and stand up to get a round of applause.”

Chris is now based in Glasgow and has been with Rura since the end of 2009, having previously been a keen member of Duns Pipe Band from a young age.

Rather intrestingly it was after spell at a traditional music school that he transferred his talent from pipes to a more modern instrument.

“I was in Duns Pipe Band from about the age of nine,” he continued. “I loved playing the pipes but after discovering the guitar a few years ago I’ve stuck with it ever since. I still try to play both but I think the guitar fits really well with the band’s sound and compliments the pipes, drums and fiddle quite well.”

Rura began recording their album in Glasgow this week and after gigging all over Scotland with his bandmates over the last 12 months or so, Chris said he was hoping to get an opportunity to play some of the tracks a bit closer to home.

“We’re hoping to tour when the album’s out and it’d be great to play somewhere in the Borders- I haven’t done a Rura gig on home turf yet. We’ve played places in north east Scotland, Glasgow, Livingston and Edinburgh but never made it down here as yet.”

Other winners on the night included Skerryvore (Best Live Act), Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band (Best Pipe Band), Battlefield Band (Folk Band Of The Year), Manran (Album Of The Year), Siobhan Miller (Singer of The Year) and The Orkney Folk Festival (Event Of The Year).

Ten artists were also chosen by a panel comprised of their peers and the award organisers to be inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall Of Fame.

They were: John Watt, Ian Duncan, Billy Thom, Alasdair Fraser, Bert Jansch, Donald MacLeod (Islay), Tannahill Weavers, Bobby MacLeod, Tobar an Dualchais – Kist O Riches and Arthur Cormack.