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Rising folk stars Eabhal look ahead to this year’s Scottish Trad Music Awards

Eabhal (from left, Jamie MacDonald, Hamish Hepburn, Kaitlin Ross, Megan MacDonald, and Nicky Kirk)
Eabhal (from left, Jamie MacDonald, Hamish Hepburn, Kaitlin Ross, Megan MacDonald, and Nicky Kirk)

THE countdown is on to Scotland’s annual Trad Music awards.

The glittering ceremony, taking place in Perth Concert Hall on December 1, celebrates the best of the genre with a night of performances and prize-giving.

Performing on the night will be the likes of Mànran, Croft No Five and Catriona Watt, as well as up and comers Eabalh.

“We’re very excited to be performing,” says the band’s Jamie MacDonald. “It’s a big night for traditional and folk music and is well known for being a great show.

“I think the awards are incredibly important, it’s great to recognise the work that goes on throughout the year in the ‘Trad music scene’ which is growing year by year.

“The standard of the music being made in these circles is really amazing and definitely a source of inspiration for younger bands and artists like ourselves.”

Named after a hill on North Uist, the band came together while they were living in the Outer Hebrides and studying traditional music at The University of the Highlands and Islands’ Benbecula campus.

Jamie says: “One of the best things for me about traditional music is the social aspect and the band grew out of us playing together informally.

“We have been performing and working together now for a couple of years and are currently working on our debut album which we plan to release next year.”

The band describe their sound as having a core of Scottish traditional music but also drawing inspiration from many different cultures.

“As individual members we all have different musical backgrounds and I think we all bring something different to the table,” Jamie explains.

“I think listening to lots of different kinds of music within and outwith traditional music is Important. We definitely try to put our own stamp on the music.”

We've had a brilliant week in the studio working on our debut album. Keep up to date with our social media for more info and previews coming soon!Eabhal xhttps://www.instagram.com/eabhalmusic/

Posted by Eabhal on Friday, 21 September 2018

As well as bringing different cultures to Trad music, they’re also helping to bring Trad music to new audiences worldwide, as one of several Scots bands in the genre finding great success abroad.

Jamie says: “We love travelling with our music and it’s very satisfying to take the genre to new audiences that perhaps haven’t much experience of Scottish and Gaelic music.

“For example, we had a brilliant time playing at the Interceltique festival de Lorient over in Brittany this year. It was heartening to see how enthusiastic the audiences where about our culture and language. That in itself is inspiring.

“I think the Trad scene is a really exciting scene to be involved in at the moment. We love performing and hope to play loads and see some new places next year!”

Outwith Eabhal, Jamie’s other musical project, alongside Christian Gamauf, has made the Album of the Year longlist for the Trad Music Awards.

“The longlist for the album of the year category really reflects the quality of work going on within the Trad genre,” he says. “I think it also highlights how many different kinds of traditional music are going on as well.

“I’m fortunate enough to have made the longlist and it’s great to see younger projects and bands like ours, Inyal, and Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente up alongside established acts such as Julie Fowlis and Blazing Fiddles.”

Public nominations for the wide range of categories closed on Sunday, with the shortlist to be announced in the coming weeks.

One of the top awards is the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Music, which is equalled in cash only by the Mercury Music Prize.

Last year, the award of £25,000 and a craft beer brewed in the winner’s name was awarded to neo-trad quintet Elephant Sessions.

For more information visit www.eabhal.com or follow the band on Facebook www.facebook.com/eabhalmusic

Tickets for the Trad Music Awards are available here.