News - MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

The annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards were announced over the weekend. Here's the full list of winners (with spoilers if you're planning to watch it on TV next weekend)...

Press Release

Because of the restrictions that 2020 has imposed, the usually live annual event was this year broadcast in a vibrant programme put together and aired exclusively on BBC ALBA. Hosted by Alistair Heather and Mary Ann Kennedy, award winners were announced along with specially-recorded music performances from some of traditional music’s top luminaries, including The Iona Fyfe Trio, Project Smok, Deirdre Graham, Jarlath Henderson and Karen Matheson as well as Phil Cunningham and many more.

This year’s event had been set to take place in Dundee’s Caird Hall but with live music and event restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, Hands Up for Trad worked to support artists and provide an alternative platform, culminating in two special programmes of Na Trads on BBC ALBA.

Joy Dunlop presented the inductees to the Hall of Fame on Friday evening, followed by the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards themselves on Saturday. 

Ealasaid MacDonald, Director of Strategy & External Affairs at title sponsors MG ALBA, which operates BBC ALBA in partnership with the BBC, said: “Once again, the Trads has showcased the best of creativity and talent across Scotland. MG ALBA would like to congratulate all those who have taken part, those nominated and the winners, as they have been part of a very different year where music has been an essential part of all our lives. We are delighted that Hands Up for Trad has brought us all together for this wonderful opportunity to celebrate the best of traditional music.”

Organising body, Hands Up for Trad funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, was formed in 2002 and exists to increase the profile and visibility of Scottish traditional music through information, advocacy and education to artists, participants, and audiences.

Hands Up for Trad’s founder and Creative Director Simon Thoumire thanked all involved: “The arrival of Covid-19 has required a massive change for us all, impacted in so many different ways, and I want to thank MG ALBA and our sponsors, the artists and musicians and crew and everyone who voted.

“Everyone has worked together tirelessly to maintain, pivot and bring our music programme online right through this year, culminating in last night’s fantastic BBC ALBA broadcast of the Na Trads 2020 programme of our annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, the pinnacle of our year.”

Within the awards programme, three pillars of the Scots Trad Music community were recognised through special awards; the Janet Paisley Services to Scots Language Award sponsored by Creative Scotland awarded to James Robertson, the Services to Gaelic Award sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig awarded to John Smith, and the 2020 Hamish Henderson Award for Services to Traditional Music went to Lisa Whytock.

Daibhidh Boag of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “We are proud to support this award once more and on behalf of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, I congratulate and thank John Smith for his dedication to the language through his work in television. His contribution to Gaelic culture has been invaluable and he continues to be an inspiration to young Gaelic speakers with his work at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye.” 

Deirdre Graham performs '’S Gann Gun Dìrich Mi Chaoidh' at The Trads 2020, on BBC ALBA. 

Tweaked for 2020 to reflect everything the entire industry has created due to Covid-19, MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Award Winners were:

Album of The Year, sponsored by Birnam CD

The Woods by Hamish Napier

Original Work of the Year, sponsored by PRS for Music

Everyday Heroes by Skerryvore

Community Music Project of the Year, sponsored by Greentrax Recordings

Tunes in the Hoose

Event of the Year Award sponsored by VisitScotland

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award 20th Anniversary Concert - (Celtic Connections)

Gaelic Singer of the Year, sponsored by The Highland Society of London

Fionnag NicChoinnich (Fiona MacKenzie)

Musician of the Year, sponsored by the University of the Highlands and Islands

Tim Edey

Online Performance of 2020, sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust

Duncan Chisholm’s Covid Ceilidh

Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association (TMSA), for artists singing in Scots language

Siobhan Miller

Trad Music in the Media, sponsored by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Anna Massie - Black Isle Correspondent

Up & Coming artist of the Year, sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Rebecca Hill

Music Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative

Josie Duncan

and Trad Video of the Year, sponsored by Threads of Sound

Calum Dan's Transit Van by Peat & Diesel

The awards will be shown again on BBC ALBA at 9pm on Saturday 18 December 2020 and will be available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days. Keep up to date with all the latest news at

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