New Gaelic channel for Scotland – BBC ALBA

It’s an exciting time in Scotland at the moment with the launch tomorrow of the new Scottish Gaelic channel BBC Alba. Hands Up for Trad is one of the lucky recipients with the Scots Trad Music Awards being shown on in the 3rd week of December. It’s our first year on telly – the thing we’ve been aiming for since the start.

Anyway the Gaelic channel will be an excellent conduit for all Scottish traditional music and culture. A real chance to get our music heard. There will also be export opportunities for these new programmes in the North American and Australasion markets which can only help publise Scotland’s traditions. It can only be good for the Scottish film and tv industry as well. An excellent opportunity to develop the sector.

The one downside is it is not on Freeview. Seemingly it costs 3 million to do this but surely this is the main vehicle for getting the programme watched. It is available on SKY (channel 168), freesat and hopefully soon Virgin Media – they’re waiting for a channel number.

You can catch the launch tomorrow (19 September 2008) from 9pm.

Here’s an interesting discussion on the subject at Foot Stompin‘.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast 21 – song feature

Play Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast 21
We’ve made the decision to make our Scottish music podcast a fortnightly affair however the question was should it be different from the usual podcast at the start of every month. Well the answer we came up with was yes and what we’re going to do is feature a different kind of Scottish music in our mid-month broadcast. I’m sure you will have guessed from the title that this month we will feature on Scottish song – that is Scots, Gaelic and English, all very popular in today’s Scotland.

The show starts off with Only One Way from Karine Polwart’s Faultlines CD. This CD was massive when it came out and won Karine many fans and awards especially at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. It has many great songs on it including ‘The Sun’s Comin’ Over The Hill’ which won an award by its self at the aforementioned awards. This album got Karine onto the Radio 2 playlists which gave her career a massive boost and gained lots of exposure.

The next CD is by Daimh from their latest release Crossing Point. This is their third release and the first with Calum Alex MacMillan as the lead vocalist. He adds and extra facet to this great instrumental band and being a well known singer in his own right probably a few more fans. The song I chose is Mo Nighean Chruinn Donn. All the musicians in the band are great and the fiddle Gabe McVarish is particularly excellent. I loved his playing on their previous CD The Pirates of Puirt and his self penned tune ‘Supernose’ (great title).

The next CD is from Julie Fowlis, currently the Gaelic singer of the moment. She really has a great voice and her latest CD Cuilidh has done really well. I was amazed and very pleased when Julie won the Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2008 as I reckoned a Gaelic singer wouldn’t have a chance in hell of being voted top in a UK poll full of English speakers. It shows how well she is doing and the progress of her career. The song I’ve chosen is Mo Ghruagach Dhonn.

We’ve added a new feature to the mid month podcast and that is an interview with a leading Scottish musician. For this broadcast we chose Mairi Campbell, half of singing duo The Cast whose version of Auld Lang Syne was featured in this years Sex and the City movie. I say featured but it was practically a cast member coming it with 3 minutes of solo playing time. Brilliant! You can hear Mairi talk about it in the podcast and their new album Greengold. I’ve chosen their self-penned song ‘Smile Or Cry’.

I’ve finished up the podcast with a track from Kris Drever’s debut CD Black Water. I love this album and its songs and its performances and its production. It’s a real class effort. It has won lots of awards as well. I’ve known Kris for a while and always enjoyed his humour and musicianship. I remember him telling me that when he arrived in Edinburgh from Orkney he managed to catch Ronni Size (one of the forefathers of drum ‘n’ bass, a particular favourite of mine) playing a gig in Le Belle Angell. This was right at the start of drum ‘n’ bass and an amazing find of a gig. His music is very open minded which I’m sure influenced his band Lau (with Aidan O’Rourke and Martin Green).

Anyway that’s it for just now. Keep up with all the Foot Stompin’ news and CDs with our fortnightly newsletter.

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