Who took part in 2023?
Five Artists were selected to represent the cutting edge of Scottish Music who complement each other and are ambassadors for their craft, their culture and their country.
‘Assynt’ are former BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year finalists, Graham Mackenzie (fiddle) and David Shedden (pipes/whistles) alongside BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Innes White (guitar/mandolin).
Having performed together for many years, 2018 saw the official launch of the band and their debut album ‘Road to the North’.
Described by Folk Radio as “refreshingly contemporary”, their new release “marks them as one of our most impressive young bands.”
The band won best ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2018 after their debut album was released. Assynt will be releasing their second album in 2021.
Forged in Scotland and Ireland’s traditional music scene, but drawing on the music of the Balkans and North America, Dallahan take their listeners on a journey.
Traversing styles and countries of the world in a dazzling live show, they create their own unique brand of World-folk delivered with stunning virtuosity. The lineup consists of Jack Badcock on guitar and vocals, Ciaran Ryan on banjo, mandolin and fiddle, Andrew Waite on accordion and Benedict Morris on fiddle.
Following the release of their debut album ‘When The Day Is On The Turn’ in 2014, described by fRoots magazine as “the most exciting Irish music I’ve heard in a long time…Lunasa for the new generation” the band toured extensively in Europe and North America, establishing themselves internationally at such prestigious international events as Milwaukee Irish Fest, Celtic Connections, Tonder Festival and countless others.
The new decade marks an exciting new chapter for Scotland’s fabulous fiddle-led FARA, as founding Orkney frontwomen Jeana Leslie, Catriona Price and Kristan Harvey welcome young Highland pianist Rory Matheson to the line-up.
Shortlisted in 2015’s Scots Trad Music Awards, for Up and Coming Act of the Year, Fara followed their critically-acclaimed debut album, Cross the Line, with a triumphant set at the 2017 Radio 2 Folk Awards, as nominees for the Horizon prize. Televised live from London’s Royal Albert Hall, it marked quite some journey travelled from that maiden gig just three years before, upstairs at the Stromness Hotel.
After winning a German Critics’ Choice Award that same year, FARA have continued to widen their reach, both artistically and geographically, drawing in strands of classical, Appalachian, jazz and indie-pop influence, while steadily multiplying the band’s fanbase across Europe and North America. All the while, nonetheless, the band’s deepest, dearest roots have remained back home
The group released their debut album in the summer of 2016, and the acceptance has been remarkable with colossal success recorded in album sales. With a line-up that features bagpipes, border pipes, accordion, fiddle, and whistles; musical instruments that are aligned with traditional Highland music combined with the sounds of guitar, keyboards, drums, and bodhran, Hò-rò can play diverse styles and produce a set that features rich musical textures.
This instrumental mix is complemented further by both the unbeatable poetry of Gaelic song and the vivid storytelling of the Scots song genre.
The Joy Dunlop Band
With an exquisitely expressive voice and a deep connection to the traditions of the Scottish Highlands, Joy Dunlop is “long established as one of the finest Gaelic singers on the current circuit.” (Songlines) A vocalist renowned for her ability to breath freshness into the most traditional material, Joy translates ancient Gaelic musical traditions into the twenty-first century with elegance and grace. Having grown up immersed in the traditional music scene of Argyll, with an eclectic taste and love of a good beat and catchy lyrics, Joy has combined her musical passions on her latest album, Caoir, which sees her go for a bigger and bolder sound than ever before.
Caoir (pronounced koor) means a blaze of fire, fiercely burning, flames or flashes – imagery which comes across in the album’s undeniably vibrant and warming sound. Her pure, enthralling vocals burn brightest at the heart of it all, acting as the ember which breathes life to the skilled, heartfelt flames of musicianship that surround her on the recording. With its upbeat rhythms and captivating melodies and riffs, it’s easy to imagine the album’s sparkling tracks lighting a fire in listeners as Joy’s musical embers dance around venues and festivals across Scotland and beyond.
The Joy Dunlop Band, comprising guitarist Ron Jappy, fiddler Mhairi Marwick, bassist Gus Stirrat and drummer Ifedade Thomas, explores Scotland’s cultural links through exhilarating dance/music collaborations and beautifully arranged Scottish Gàidhlig songs. The result is music deeply grounded in authenticity and tradition, yet infused with the energy of a new generation; all lit up with the passion and power of Joy’s shimmering voice.