Baton in Stranraer

I had a wonderful time performing in my hometown last week as the Commonwealth Baton arrived in Stranraer. There was such a great turn out to welcome the baton to the town, and the summer weather was amazing!

baton stranraer

The first stop for the baton was the Castle Square in the centre of town. Myself and the local music specialists organised a large children’s choir with pupils from all the local primary schools. They were joined  were joined by the local U3A choir and Alison Burns’ Ferrell Choir who had followed the baton across the region. Over 100 singers in total, all singing ‘Here’s to All Our Common Wealth’, a song commissioned to celebrate the Games coming to Scotland.  

Our second song was the locally written ‘Come by the Lovely Hills of Galloway’ to the tune of Highland Cathedral. The song, written by Jane Sloan, describes the beauty of our area and our local community. It was a wonderful experience to be leading this song, with such a fantastic choir and supportive audience. 

The baton then headed down to Agnew Park where all the athletes were welcomed, lots of celebrations and great local music!

Well done to all the performers and organisers for making the day such a great success!

Travelling Folk

Had a wonderful time last night performing with Alistair Iain Paterson on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Travelling Folk’. The weekly radio show, hosted by Bruce MacGregor (Blazin Fiddles) featured a range of folk music tracks plus live performances and interviews in the BBC studio. Was great chatting to Bruce and such a privilege to be performing on the show. Thanks to Alistair for his beautiful accompaniments on piano and harmonium. Thoroughly enjoyed chatting to Bruce and such a privilege to be performing on the show. Later in the programme Ross Ainsley played some brilliant sets with musicians Mhairi Hall, Mairearad Green, Simon Bradley and Matheu Watson – catch it on iplayer:




Live Music Now

This week Claire and I performed our first Live Music Now concerts. We had a wonderful time performing in Edinburgh to the Indignant Old Men’s Society at St Michael’s Church and at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Thanks to all the men at St Michael’s for such a warm welcome – we thoroughly enjoyed sharing the old Scottish songs with such an appreciative audience. The Portrait Gallery was stunning and the accoustics were a dream to sing in, especially when the audience all joined in with the chorus of the last song, ‘Go Lassie Go’. A great start to our work with LMN – looking forward to our next performance!




Here’s To All Our Common Wealth

The newly commissioned song ‘Here’s to All Our Common Wealth’, has been written by Phil Cunningham, Findlay Napier and Ali Burns to celebrate this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I was delighted to be asked to record this song  and had a wonderful time recording at Gorbals Studio last week, alongside some fantastic musicians!

Across the country, groups of people will be learning and performing the song in Scots, English and Gaelic as they take part in The Big Song Relay! The relay, organised by Hands Up for Trad and The Big Sing,  is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Scotland’s culture and celebrate the Glasgow 2014Commonwealth Games.

If you’d like to take part in the Big Song Relay or just want to hear or learn the song, follow this link:



This Year’s Winner

On the 2nd of February, I became BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician 2014.

The final was held at Glasgow’s City Halls where the six finalists, from all across Scotland, competed for the title.

The other five finalists were fiddler Mhairi Marwick, pianist Alistair Iain Paterson, accordionist Ian Smith, singer Jack Badcock and fiddler Neil Ewart. I was truly blown away by the standard of musicianship from all the finalists and feel very priveliged to have been named this year’s winner.

The winning prize includes a recording session with BBC Scotland, a guest appearance at the annual Scots Trad Music Awards event and a one-year membership of the Musician’s Union. I am also really looking forward to heading out  on tour and recording with all the other finalists later this year.

Winning the award has proved to be major platform for rising talent such as singer Emily Smith, multi-instrumentalist Anna Massie and fiddler Ruairidh Macmillan. I am sure that this will be a terrific year for me and I intend to make the most of every opportunity that the success will bring.

Thank-you to all my friends and family for their encouragement and for coming to the concert to support me. Thanks also to Simon Thoumire  (Hands up for Trad) for all of his help and to the BBC Scotland team for all their hard work.

Lastly, thank-you to the other finalists who were so encouraging and delivered such worthy performances.