Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Fèis Rois partnered up on a competition to inspire people to connect with nature through music. Entrants aged 16 and over were invited to compose a piece of music inspired by one of 10 national nature reserves across Scotland. Winners receive a £500 cash prize with each winner also having the opportunity to collaborate with a professional filmmaker to make a film on the nature reserve which inspired their music.
We are delighted to announce the winners of the competition today, 30th June 2020.
Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive of Fèis Rois said: “We had originally planned to have 10 winners, one for each nature reserve, but the extraordinary quality of the submissions meant that the panel couldn’t agree on a clear winner in two of the categories and we decided to award a joint first place for both Rum and Taynish. I am delighted that we have been able to collaborate with SNH to support musicians at this incredibly difficult time. By awarding an additional two prizes, 12 artists will now benefit from £6,000. We will also pay all of the musicians for their time developing a film to accompany their music.”
In Tune with Nature was judged by a panel of well-known faces from the Scottish music industry, including Julie Fowlis; Vic Galloway; Gill Maxwell; and Karine Polwart, and is part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.
“This has been an interesting and satisfying project to be involved in, and I was honoured to be asked to assess so many brilliant applicants. Although it has been an epic task listening to almost 150 musical compositions, I’ve loved the sheer passion and diversity of music on offer – from classical to traditional, acoustic song writing to electronica, spoken word to rock, and way beyond. For these stunning Scottish Nature Reserves, I think we have some worthy winners and some extraordinary music to accompany them.”
– Broadcaster, author and musician, Vic Galloway
“It’s been a privilege to listen to all the entries, and I thank each and every composer who submitted new music. Some of the pieces reduced me to tears! One of the most impressive aspects of this competition was the output from our some of our youngest composers, displaying real skill and talent. It was also a joy for me personally, to listen to the new compositions using Gaelic and other dialects.”
– Multi award winning Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis
“What a treat for the ears to hear such thoughtful, evocative new music, much of it written and recorded in extremely tight circumstances. Most of the winning artists are new on me, and I’m particularly delighted that they include so many young, emerging composers and songwriters from across the whole of Scotland, and beyond. I’ve found the thoughtfulness of their responses to each of the reserves fascinating, and often deeply touching. They evoke everything from craggy skylines and shifting dunes to delphinium spires and butterflies. And as a collection, the twelve winning entries tell a mighty story about how rich our Scottish landscape is, and how well we need to tend it.”
– Acclaimed singer songwriter, Karine Polwart
The music composed by each of the musicians will be released later in the year with their accompanying films. For now, we can give you a preview of James Lindsay’s piece, Gaither, inspired by Forvie Nature Reserve:
James says: “Gaither reflects the changing role Forvie has played over the course of history in supporting its inhabitants and visitors. The piece features a bed of audio which I recorded at the Forvie shoreline a few years ago whilst visiting my family in Inverurie. The melody and orchestration aim to reflect the shifting sands, the movement of the sea and the constant change of visitors to the area. The writing and production process took place during the COVID-19 lockdown with each contributor recording/engineering from home.”
The 12 winning artists are:
Born in Edinburgh, award winning fiddler and composer Marie Fielding has been immersed in traditional music from a young age. Performing, playing for dancing as well as numerous recordings to her name, Marie is also Lecturer in Fiddle and Performance at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. An outdoor enthusiast, Marie is a keen artist, often painting Scottish Landscapes in an abstract style.
Lucie Treacher is a composer and artist creating interactive sound experiences, digital and theatrical, virtual and real. Her work is characterised by quirky and textural sound worlds which she weaves together in her multi-disciplinary creations. She was born in Dumfries and grew up in Glasgow and the Highlands.
Charlie Grey is a fiddle player from the Great Glen. He has performed worldwide and has recorded on 6 studio albums to date. Charlie’s love for the landscape of the Scottish Highlands, culture and its music has shaped his playing style hugely. At 14 Charlie was accepted into the National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music and has learnt from some of Scotland and Ireland’s most notable fiddle players including Charlie Mckerron, Caoimhín Ó’raghallaigh and Duncan Chisholm.
James Lindsay is a musician, composer and educator now based in Glasgow, Scotland. He plays bass with award-winning contemporary folk group Breabach whilst also being an in-demand session artist on the folk and jazz scenes. His debut solo album Strand was released in 2017 to critical acclaim.
Violinist and composer Catriona Price studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music having spent her childhood in Orkney folk sessions. She is a member of contemporary duo Twelfth Day and folk band Fara and regularly tours the world with both groups.
Perth-native Beth Malcolm is a folk-inspired singer/songwriter, keys player and History teacher. She has frequently performed at the Glasgow Star; appeared at Orkney Folk Festival and The Carrying Stream and won Edinburgh Folk Club’s song writing competition. In January 2020, Beth won a prestigious ‘Danny’ award at Celtic Connections.
Sarah MacNeil is Scottish harpist, composer and graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She works full time as a musician and loves both performing and composing. Earlier this year Sarah released an EP of six own compositions titled ’Northbay’ inspired by the Isle of Barra. She is often inspired by places, scenery and the nature around us.
Recently graduating from Leeds College of Music and having been awarded the Taran Guitars Young Player Bursary 2020, Iona delivers well-crafted songs that have an understanding beyond her years for the stories she tells. Having found herself fascinated by discovering untold folk stories from rural parts of the UK, where natural environment, landscape, sustainability and community are integral to people’s way of life, Iona has honed her songwriting to create something really special.
Ross Hull is a fiddle player living in Glasgow. After spending 6th year of school at Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd, the Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music, he went on to graduate BA Applied Music from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Since graduating, Ross been working as a self employed musician.
Malin is a Piper, fiddler and Smallpipe maker from the Isle of Skye, currently studying piping at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their two main projects are Two Octaves and Bogha Frois- LGBT+ voices in folk. Malin teaches Smallpipes at the National Piping Centre and Scots Music Group and is about to publish their first collection of original tunes.
Roo Geddes and Neil Sutcliffe
Roo Geddes (Glasgow) and Neil Sutcliffe (Stirling) met at the Junior Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014. They developed a close friendship and musical duo, delving into their shared backgrounds of folk, jazz and classical music. They also work together to compose new music, inspired by their shared love of nature, stories and community.
Barney Bridges is a Belgian musician living in Glasgow. His passion for music started at the age of 10 when he first picked up a guitar. Since then his growing fascination has lead him to become a luthier where he now creates one of a kind instruments for customers.