BBC ALBA strengthens ties with EBU through children’s drama and documentary scheme

BBC ALBA is continuing to bring Gaelic broadcasting to the world through the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) content-sharing scheme.

BBC ALBA is able to share its children’s drama and documentaries with other member broadcasters through an initiative which creates a prestigious, international showcase of some of the best children’s content from across the world.

BBC ALBA has been involved in the drama exchange for eight years and the documentary scheme for five years and have contributed eight dramas and five documentaries to the scheme, with Gaelic content being shown in more than 18 countries, including Finland, Spain, Japan and China.

Three films from 2022 have picked up awards with Cùm Sùil Orm, a story about a young refugee’s reunion with his father, winning an Royal Television Society Scotland (RTS) Award, as well as taking top spots at The Children’s Film Festival Seattle, KidFilm Festival Dallas and Aryan Intl. Children’s Festival.

This success follows on from 2019 RTS Scotland award winner, Buidheagan, which was commissioned as part of the EBU drama scheme.

Buidheagan – produced by Sorbier Productions – RTS Scotland winner 2019.

BBC ALBA has shown content from Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria, Thailand, China and Japan.

Ahead of the EBU’s annual conference in Manchester this week (March 9 and 10), MG ALBA executive producer Bill MacLeod has been reflecting on their relationship with colleagues on the continent and beyond.

He said: “These short films have been an outstanding, popular and critical success and have placed Gaelic writers, actors, directors and producers at the top table of world-class kids’ filmmaking.

“Collaborating with colleagues from across Europe, and beyond, has been an incredibly creative and happy experience.”

Matthew Trustram, Head of TV at the EBU, said: “The kids’ drama and documentary co-productions are the longest-running EBU children’s programme exchanges, both reflecting amongst others a very successful EBU-BBC ALBA collaboration in the area of children’s programmes.

“The now eight-year-long relationship with BBC ALBA on these two programmes has added value to a good and responsible exchange in the field of children’s television and as a guarantee for high-quality content.

“BBC ALBA’s production teams’ consistency and professionalism offer, every year, very attractive films with very diverse and varied content. This is of particular importance to all EBU Members broadcasters involved from around the world, given the ever-increasing financial pressure in the media world in general and children’s programmes in particular.”

Winners light up FilmG awards

FilmG, the Gaelic short film competition, celebrated its 15th year with a glitzy ceremony in Glasgow last night (Thursday 16 February).  

Parker Dawes from Ardnamurchan, who won three awards last year, picked up Best Film in the Youth Competition for Gàidhlig sa Chiste.  

Eilidh Johnson from Inverness, also a three-time winner in previous years, scooped up Best Film in the Open Competition with Bochd (Sick), made with her partner and fellow filmmaker Allan Crook. 

This year’s FilmG theme ‘Buidhe’ (Yellow) was interpreted in a variety of ways by filmmakers, and it wasn’t to be forgotten at the awards ceremony as yellow lights and signs lit up the venue. 

It was the first time since 2020 that the FilmG awards were back at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow, and BBC ALBA presenter Fiona MacKenzie and Radio nan Gàidheal host Niall Iain MacDonald took to the stage to celebrate the wealth of talent and creativity shown in this year’s competition. 

Fiona Mackenzie commented: “It’s great to be back in Glasgow and surrounded by such bright young talent.

“It was like looking onto a sea of yellow from the stage, and so lovely to see such delighted faces celebrating Gaelic creativity and storytelling.”

Eilidh Johnson (22) and Allan Crook’s film Bochd (Sick) was nominated across five different categories, winning two awards, for Best Film and Best Performance (Open) by Eilidh. 

The sinister short drama managed to incorporate this year’s theme following a young woman struck down by a mysterious yellow illness after a blind date.  

Parker Dawes (15) from Ardnamurchan created the animation Gàidhlig sa Chiste about the chaos that could ensue if every English word in the world turned to Gaelic.

The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow was packed out for the awards.

Parker, who has been taking animation courses with the British Film Institute alongside tutors from Aardman Animations, took home the prize for Best Film (Youth) and Best Script, while picking up nominations in a further two categories. 

Also in the Youth Competition, Finlay Morrison (14) from Glasgow Gaelic School had a successful evening, picking up two of the most prestigious individual awards.  

Finlay collected trophies for Best Performance (Youth) and the Rising Star Award for Ò, Nuair a Bha Mise Òg! (Oh, When I Was Young!) – a comedy he produced and acted in with his younger brother, Calum – adding to his collection of trophies from previous years. 

Murdo MacSween, FilmG Project Manager at Astar, who deliver the project, said: “Seeing winners like Finlay, Eilidh and Parker return to win even more awards is a testament to the success of FilmG.

“The development of FilmG filmmakers is a key aspect of why the competition exists and the high-quality films on show at the awards demonstrate the promising future of Gaelic media.”

With over 59,000 votes across both competitions, the FilmG Choice Awards were a hotly-fought contests.  

It was Broadford Primary School in the Isle of Skye who took home the prize in the Youth Competition with their MI5-inspired Misean a dh’ Astràlia (Mission to Australia). 

Glasgow-based artist Choirstaidh NicArtair (26) won the prize in the Open Competition with Priob, mixing her animation with her own performance of communicating with her late grandfather through radio waves. 

Other Youth Competition Winners

The Isle of Skye has been fertile ground for Gaelic filmmakers over the years, and this year was no exception with Portree High School and Staffin Primary School taking home prizes, adding to the FilmG Choice Award for Broadford Primary School. 

Portree High School put their own spin on the story behind the 19th century song Òganaich an Òr Fhuilt Bhuidhe in Eachdraidh Uabhasach whilst Staffin Primary School showed how easy it can be to mistake Maligar in Skye for Malaga in Spain in their film Teas aig Deas. 

The Gaelic Award was presented to Millburn Academy for their film Dath Falaichte (Hidden Colour) which was commended for its clever and innovative use of the language by the class of Gaelic learners. 

And the Best Documentary trophy will be returning to the Isle of Harris, with Sgoil Sir E Scott and Comunn na Gàidhlig’s documentary about the local lifeboat crew picked as the judge’s favourite. 

Other Open Competition Winners

Previous FilmG winner Innes MacLeòid (35) from the Isle of Lewis returned to collect the Industry Award, being praised for his camera work on Gàidheil Ùra, his documentary following the lives of fluent Gaelic learners. 

After being named the most influential Scottish TikToker at the end of last year, Calum MacLean (34) continued his winning streak picking up the Creativity Award with Snàmh, le Wes Anderson; inspired by the stylings of the Grand Budapest director.   

Kirsty McBain (24) and Cara Turner (22) together collected the award for Best Director for their film Na Caileagan Gàidhealach (The Gael Girls), a Kardashians-inspired Glasgow Gael film.  

Kirsty and Cara both already work in media, with hopes that this award can push them along on their own career paths. 

The Culture Award was won by The Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group and pupils from the Nicolson Institute. Na Balaich highlighted the importance of the group as it marks 15 years of bringing men together to share their experience of having cancer.   

The schoolboys will be donating half of their £1000 prizemoney to The Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group with the other £500 going towards future filmmaking endeavours. 

Sorley Johnston (20) collected the award for Best Student Film for his van-life documentary Air an Rathad.  

Sorley is a well-known Gaelic content creator who is the final months of his Sabhal Mòr Ostaig media course and who recently starred on BBC2’s Take A Hike.

Eilidh Johnson and Allan Crook winning Best Film (Open) (sponsored by Ricochet, a Warner Bros. International Television Production Company), with their film ‘Bochd’.

Alison Bruce, FilmG Project Executive from MG ALBA, said: “It’s been another fantastic year for entries, and we’re delighted to see such a wealth of talent coming through the competition year on year.

“The great effort and ambition shown by schools, community groups and individual filmmakers has certainly paid off. We look forward to seeing what’s next for all involved.”

Highlights of the awards ceremony will be shown on BBC ALBA and BBC iPlayer on Friday 24th February at 9pm.

The complete list of winners can be found on the FilmG website at

Follow FilmG on social media to stay up-to-date with next year’s competition.

FilmG Youth Competition Winners

FilmG Choice Award (Youth) 

Misean a dh’ Astràilia (Broadford Primary School, Isle of Skye)

Best Documentary 

Bòtannan Buidhe (CnaG & Sir E Scott School, Isle of Harris)

Rising Star Award 

Finlay Morrison – Ò, Nuair a Bha Mise Òg! (Glasgow)

Best Production Design 

Eachdraidh Uabhasach: Òganaich an Òr Fhuilt Bhuidhe (Portree High School, Isle of Skye)

Award for Gaelic 

Dath Falaichte (Millburn Academy, Inverness)

Best Youth Group

Teas aig Deas (Staffin Primary School, Isle of Skye)

Best Performance (Youth) 

Finlay Morrison – Ò, Nuair a Bha Mise Òg! (Glasgow)

Best Film (Youth) 

Gàidhlig sa Chiste (Parker Dawes, Ardnamurchan)

FilmG Open Competition Winners

FilmG Choice Award (Open) 

Priob (Choirstaidh NicArtair, Glasgow)

Culture Award 

Na Balaich (Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group & Nicolson Institute, Isle of Lewis)

Industry Award 

Innes MacLeod – Gàidheil Ùra (Isle of Lewis)

Creativity Award 

Snàmh, le Wes Anderson (Calum MacLean, Aberfeldy)

Best Director 

Kirsty McBain & Cara Turner – Na Caileagan Gàidhealach (Glasgow)

Best Performance (Open) 

Eilidh Johnson – Bochd (Inverness)

Best Film (Open) 

Bochd (Eilidh Johnson & Allan Crook, Inverness)

Other Awards

Best Script 

Gàidhlig sa Chiste (Parker Dawes, Ardnamurchan)

Best Student Film

Air an Rathad (Sorley Johnston, Glasgow)

Hit drama series An Clò Mòr to return to BBC ALBA

BBC ALBA’s new drama series, An Clò Mòr, is to return for a second series later this year.

The first series of the Harris Tweed-based drama aired on BBC ALBA over six parts in January and February of 2023 and became an instant favourite with audiences.

Writers Patsi Mackenzie and Catriona Lexy Campbell have begun the script writing process for a second series, picking up on the cliff-hangers at the end of series one of An Clò Mòr and the first round of filming in the Western Isles is scheduled for May.

From mysterious arrivals to illicit love affairs and a family on the brink of collapse, series one of An Clò Mòr was punctuated with super-charged, tension-filled moments and had audiences hooked with bold tales of passion, rivalry and intrigue.

The first series was set around MacSween’s Mill – a traditional family-run tweed business in crisis – where a skeleton workforce were clinging onto their jobs by their fingertips, with time running out for mill owner, Seumas MacSween (Ewan MacKinnon). Series two will determine what’s going to happen to Seumas and the mill.

In a desperate attempt to bail out his business and continue with traditional ways, Seumas sought the financial help of old family friends from Norway.

Norwegian businessman Johan Furseth (Fredrik Malte Petersen) arrived on the island full of swagger and cut-throat business plans but soon clashed with mill manager, Sìleas MacSween (Erica Morrison).

Old resentments and underlying tensions in the MacSween family were unearthed, delivering a host of gripping, contemporary storylines. Expect more of the same in series two as we wonder how the mill is going to survive.

Erica Morrison as Sileas MacSween.  © Sradag Creative / Solus Productions/ MG ALBA.

The rich colour palette of the Harris landscape, the atmospheric soundtrack of fast-paced looms weaving rich and textured tweed and a family teetering on the brink of collapse will, once again, provide a vibrant backdrop for this stylish drama.

Produced by Solus Productions, executive producer/director, Tony Kearney, is delighted to have a second series confirmed for next year and can’t wait to bring viewers back into the picture about the goings on in the fictional village of Gàirneabhal.

Tony Kearney said: “We have been utterly overwhelmed with the positive response to series one of An Clò Mòr.

“TV audiences really identify with the strong characters, the colourful vistas and the bold storytelling. There is clearly an appetite out there for this kind of drama and we are delighted BBC ALBA are affording us the opportunity to make a second series.”

Executive producer Jim Webster said: “Solus is thrilled to have been given the go ahead to create a new series of ‘An Clò Mòr’ for BBC ALBA.

“The reaction to S1 has been fantastic and we are already having lots of fun in the story room making sure all the drama will continue in style for the MacSween clan in series two.

“We were extremely fortunate to work with such a talented cast and crew in series one, as well as experiencing wonderful co-operation from the community in Harris, Scalpay and Lewis. Suffice to say, we can’t wait to return this May to film the next chapter.”

Writer Patsi Mackenzie said: “An Clò Mòr offered up a tantalising array of strong characters, standing by to have their stories told.

“The twists and turns across generations, are the real driving force. And it’s thrilling to create fresh drama, set and filmed in a landscape known to me all my life.”

MG ALBA executive producer Bill MacLeod said: “An Clò Mòr is a cornerstone of BBC ALBA’s output and so MG ALBA is delighted to fund and commission a second series of this punchy drama.

“A colourful series full of twists and turns has kept viewers on the edge of their seats. We left the first show on a cliff-hanger and are excited by the prospect of more revelations and surprises to come.

“An Clò Mòr has been a game-changer for Gaelic-language drama and has opened the door to a wide and appreciative audience.”

All episodes of An Clò Mòr series one are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

MG ALBA back WIIGA Women’s Football Team for success at the Island Games

Excitement is building for the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) Women’s football team as MG ALBA announce a significant sponsorship package which will support the team on their journey to the 2023 NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey and throughout the competition.

The logo of MG ALBA brand SpeakGaelic will be prominently displayed on the front of the football shirts to be worn by the WIIGA Women’s Football Team to showcase the opportunities for learning Gaelic to the world-wide audiences who will be enjoying the Games.  MG ALBA’s logo will also be displayed on the shirt sleeve.

MG ALBA’s social media will be the place to keep track of the team as they prepare for the Games as they will be creating exclusive content for the MG ALBA platforms, giving an insight into the team, their training and preparations for this big occasion.

MG ALBA’s Director of Strategy & External Affairs, Ealasaid MacDonald said:

MG ALBA is proud to support WIIGA Women’s Football Team as they gear up to represent the Western Isles in Guernsey this summer. We will be sharing their Games with a wide audience and through our shirt sponsorship showcasing the opportunity to learn Gaelic through SpeakGaelic.

“This comes at an exciting time for the SpeakGaelic brand with the launch of new course materials early January which are aimed at intermediate learners or Gaelic-speakers looking to brush up on their language skills.”

Western Isles Women’s Football Squad Head Coach, Euan MacLeod said:

“MG ALBA’s continued support for the Western Isles Women’s Football Squad is again greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed.

“We believe it is a perfect partnership between two bodies whose aspirations are to positively represent and support our community.

“MG ALBA’s support ensures the female footballers of the Western Isles continue to thrive, progress, and evolve towards a constantly increasing degree of excellence.

“The Western Isles Women’s Football Squad’s hope is to inspire girls from across the entirety of our Islands and to embolden them towards following their dream of playing the sport they love.”

SpeakGaelic returns with Joy Dunlop and Calum Maclean inspiring language learners

BBC ALBA’s flagship language learning programme SpeakGaelic has returned for a new season to guide and inspire new learners and Gaelic speakers looking to brush up on their language skills.

This new series focuses on advancing language ability as Joy Dunlop and Calum Maclean work with intermediate level learners.

Viewers will be both educated and entertained as presenter Joy inspires people to speak Gaelic. Throughout this series, she’ll introduce words and phrases on a variety of everyday topics such as health and wellbeing, cooking, sports and the environment.

A Gaelic learner herself, Joy, will support learners through pronunciation and vocabulary.

The series will feature speakers who have embraced the language, from new learners to native speakers looking to gain confidence and brush up on their skills and those who have built their language skills over time.

And the intrepid Calum MacLean – who was recently crowned Scotland’s top TikTok influencer –  takes us on adventures off the beaten track around Scotland.

Accompanying the SpeakGaelic TV series, is a free online course where learners can learn at their own pace and a new series of the SpeakGaelic podcast  – presented by John Urquhart.  Thirteen episodes are available on BBC Sounds, with new weekly episodes of SpeakGaelic Extra being made available over the coming months.

Joy Dunlop said: “I’m so excited at the return of SpeakGaelic and to be taking our intrepid learners to a new level in their Gaelic journey.

“It’s such a pleasure to be involved in this multi-faceted project and to feel that we are supporting a whole new generation of new speakers.

“Their enthusiasm and love for the course is infectious and I hope that it helps inspire others to take the first step on their learning journey.”

Intrepid explorer Calum Maclean also features throughout the series.

Calum Maclean said: “I’m delighted to be back on the road, exploring Scotland and meeting people from all over.

“From Parkour, to dinosaur footprints, and Morris dancing, there’s nothing I wouldn’t try at least once!

“I really enjoy connecting the activities and places with the Gaelic language and meeting other Gaelic speakers, too.”

SpeakGaelic season three airs on BBC ALBA every Monday at 7.30pm. The first 13 episodes in this series are now available to watch on BBC iPlayer as well as YouTube for international viewers.

Supporting materials can be found online:, via SpeakGaelic’s social media platforms and in the SpeakGaelic podcasts on BBC Sounds.

BBC ALBA announces its festive schedule – the perfect recipe for a magical Christmas

Enjoy a fabulous offering of festive programmes with love from BBC ALBA.

From must-see dramas and nostalgic documentaries to live music and, of course, plenty of festive fun, BBC ALBA is the perfect place to be this Christmas.

Some magical treats await on Christmas Eve starting with Clò Beag Chirsty Bella which tells the tale of a little girl from Harris who wants to produce her own tweed.

There’s nostalgia aplenty in Oidhche Gun Tàmh | Lewisian Nights which delves into the music scene in Lewis. From the halcyon days of the 1960s to the present day, local musician Iain “Spanish” Mackay takes a fond look over the years and wonders what the future holds.

Bringing Christmas Eve to a close, an Alleluia! Christmas special from the magical Coats Paisley features a selection of much-loved carols, seasonal hymns and personal reflections presented by Iain MacKinnon.

Spend Christmas Day with Padruig MacCuinn (Gàrradh Phàdruig) and Coinneach Macleod (aka The Hebridean Baker) at their family hut on the Isle of Seil in Nollaig sa Bhothaig.

Peter MacQueen, his partner Coinneach MacLeod and their Westie Seòras celebrate Christmas at the family hut in Argyll in ‘Nollaig sa Bhothaig’

With help from their guests and Seòras, the faithful Westie, Pàdruig and Coinneach transform their simple hut into a sparkling winter wonderland – the perfect location for a traditional Christmas of mistletoe and wine, music and song, love and laughter.

Also featuring on Christmas day is Dad Sam Bith (Every Dad) – a heart-warming story of an imaginative boy – Mason – who, curious about his absent father, manages to find three very different dads.

From the make believe to the very real, Barraigh gu Barcelona lifts the lid on the life of 10-year-old Alanna, a fashion model from the Isle of Barra who is in high demand for some of Europe’s biggest clothing brands.

Boxing Day brings another magical children’s programme in animation Yoyo & The Little Auk – accompanied by a beautiful score from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, it tells the tale of a little auk that gets separated from its flock.

Kirsty MacDonald makes an incredible trip to Uummannaq in Greenland

Beautifully-shot documentaries Dùthchas and Greenland – Sgeul Isobel Wylie Hutchison transport viewers to different places and times.

Dùthchas uses previously unseen archive footage from the ‘60s and ‘70s set to a specially-composed soundtrack by Donald Shaw to tell the poignant and emotive story of migration and cultural loss in the island of Berneray.

Greenland – Sgeul Isobel Wylie Hutchison spreads its wings further as Kirsty MacDonald follows in the footsteps of her pioneering Scottish adventurer relative Isobel Wylie Hutchison. From Scotland to Uummannaq in Greenland, Kirsty meets people whose relatives were photographed by Isobel in the 1920s.

On Hogmanay Deilbh Dr Hay explores another pictorial legacy, this time that of Dr John Hay from Uig on the Isle of Lewis; there’s more fabulous archive to be seen in a celebration of 25 years of the HebCelt Festival and OMC! returns with a brilliant new comedy series.

BBC ALBA’s cèilidh, hosted by Cathy MacDonald and Niall Iain Macdonald, will bring in the new year in the company of a brilliant array of musicians and guests in Mallaig.

The music continues with Barrowland Roar as the likes of Gun, Amy MacDonald and Travis talk about their experiences of the famous venue on New Year’s Day.

And 2023 continues in dramatic fashion as a fresh, new six part drama series An Clò Mòr premieres.  From mysterious arrivals to illicit love affairs and a family on the brink of collapse, An Clò Mòr promises super-charged, tension-filled moments.

And we hear about what is was really like in, Trusadh: Muinntir a’ Mhuilinn/Mill Yarns – where ex-mill workers reunite to reminisce about this important island industry.

The BBC ALBA festive schedule also features a powerful documentary Mise is ADHD; a celebration of Aonghas Dubh MacNeacail in his 80th year and a host of kids programmes such as Ernest and Celestine, Father Frismas and The Smeds and the Smoos.

For more information please refer to the full BBC ALBA festive schedule here

Hands Up For Trad Announces Winners Of The 20th Anniversary Of The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards returned to Dundee’s Caird Hall, live & on screens, for its celebratory 20th anniversary on Sunday 4th December 2022.

The popular annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, which recently won a Royal Society of Television Award with MG ALBA & production company BEEZR TV, held a spectacular once-in-a-generation night to remember, including live performances from Elephant Sessions, FARA, Trip, the Eryn Rae Trio (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award Winner 2022), the Gordon Shand Scottish Dance Band, The Auldeners, St. Roch’s Irish Minstrels and Tayside Young Fiddlers, plus a Tribute to James Alexander, Fochabers fiddle teacher and performer, from his former pupils, and a special mention of the Youth Music Initiative, which also celebrated its 20th anniversary.

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

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: “The scope and scale of the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards is nothing short of astonishing. This year’s winners represent the past, present, and future of Scotland’s traditional music, with artists and organisations hailing from the length and breadth of the country. Creative Scotland supports categories that focus on two key priorities – language and education – and so we’re particularly happy to see author Anne Donovan recognised with the Janet Paisley Services to Scots Language and fiddler Charlie Mckerron named Music Tutor of the Year. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, because it’s your passion and pride in Scotland’s heritage that make Na Trads one of the most important cultural events of the year.”

Organiser, and Hands Up For Trad & Awards Founder, Simon Thoumire said, “In difficult times bands are getting back out on the road and filling venues across the world, bringing joy to people, and it’s great to be back to celebrate this and showcase all the work that has been taking place to fill people’s lives with music, whilst also remembering that we need to support our clubs and venues.”

The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards annual Gala rocks the scene by championing top Scottish traditional musicians of all genres, recognising, and celebrating the wealth of talent via phenomenal performances, which this year was live from Caird Hall in Dundee City Centre, and on BBC ALBA at 9.00pm.

Margaret Cameron, Director of Content at MG ALBA said, “It is always a pleasure to see the incredible wealth of talent we have in the world of Scottish traditional music showcased on BBC ALBA, and there are few nights better than Na Trads for doing just that. The 20th anniversary celebration was a night to remember.”

Broadcast in partnership with headline sponsor MG ALBA on BBC ALBA, people voted for their favourites to win the prestigious Awards via the website and links on social media from Monday 7th November to Sunday 20th November 2022, which generated 100,000’s of public votes.

Ealasaid MacDonald, Director of Strategy & External Affairs at MG ALBA, said: “MG ALBA are extremely proud to sponsor these awards, which celebrated 20 spectacular years of Na Trads. It’s been a very difficult couple of years for the music industry in Scotland and that’s what makes this recognition for all the impressive innovation and collaboration all the more important.”

Hands Up For Trad supports many aspects of traditional Scottish Music, Arts & Culture, through events, supporting artists, awards, teaching, and fundraising. The Awards give recognition to excellence within Scotland’s thriving traditional musical culture. Encompassing all aspects of making and playing from composing, Gaelic song, folk and Scottish dance music to pipe bands and a host of others in between, each year sees a lively and enthusiastic crowd enjoying some of the biggest names as the industry and audiences join to honour singers, instrumentalists, composers, and songwriters.

For 2022 and the 20th Anniversary year, the 27 Award Winners are:

  1. Club of The Year, sponsored by the Fraser Shaw Trust
  • Aberdeen Folk Club
  1. Event of the Year, sponsored by VisitScotland
  • Hebcelt Festival (Lewis)
  1. Venue of the Year, sponsored by Musicians’ Union
  • Knoydart Community Hall
  1. Live Act of the Year, sponsored by Greentrax Recordings
  • Skerryvore
  1. Music Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative
  • Charlie Mckerron
  1. Gaelic Singer of the Year, sponsored by The Highland Society of London
  • Ruairidh Gray
  1. Album of The Year, sponsored by Birnam CD
  • For The Night by Elephant Sessions
  1. Scottish Folk Band of the Year, sponsored by Threads of Sound
  • Breabach
  1. Scottish Pipe Band of the Year, sponsored by the National Piping Centre
  • Inveraray and District Pipe Band
  1. Up & Coming artist of the Year, sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Valtos
  1. Community Music Project of the Year, sponsored by Innes & Campbell Communications
  • Isle of Arran Music School
  1. Scottish Dance Band of the Year, sponsored by the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs
  • Alan Crookston Band
  1. Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA)
  • Beth Malcolm
  1. Trad Video of the Year
  • She Moves Me by Kim Carnie
  1. Composer of the Year, sponsored by PRS for Music
  • Rachel Newton, Lauren MacColl (Heal & Harrow)
  1. Original Work of the Year, sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust
  • Talamh Beò – Living Land, commissioned by Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme
  1. Trad Music in the Media , sponsored by Skipinnish
  • Heading West: a story about a band called Shooglenifty
  1. Musician of the Year, sponsored by the University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Megan Henderson
  1. The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Awards, sponsored by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS)
  • Caroline Maclennan from HebCelt Festival
  1. The Janet Paisley Services to Scots Language, sponsored by Creative Scotland
  • Anne Donovan
  1. Services to Gaelic, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig
  • Dr Anne Lorne Gillies

The Hands Up for Trad Scottish Traditional Music Production Awards

  1. Studio Engineer of the Year
    Keith Morrison (Wee Studio)
  1. Lighting Designer of the Year
    Greig Shankland
  1. Recording Studio of the Year
    GloWorm Recording (Glasgow)
  1. Music Producer of the Year
    Anna Massie
  1. Live Sound Engineer of the Year
    Scott Turnbull
  1. This year the annual Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame is sponsored by Fèisean nan Gàidheal, and the five 2022 inductees are:

Catriona Garbutt

Karen Matheson

Jim Mclean

Mike Whellans

Mick West

Frank and Jean Bechhoffer

The Fraser Shaw Trust, sponsoring the Club of the Year Award, was started after Fraser’s passing from Multiple Sclerosis in May 2015, by a group of friends and family in his honour. Fraser Shaw was a brilliant piper, whistle player and composer from Glasgow. He had started playing the pipes at the age of 6, and at 16 moved to the Isle of Skye to study at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The foremost aim of the Fraser Shaw Trust is to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, Scotland, through a series of projects and events celebrating Fraser and his music. The first project was to release his much anticipated Tunebook, along with an album comprised of his music.  Proceeds of the Tunebook go directly towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead. Proceeds of the album are used for the advancement of education, arts and culture and for the relief of those living with multiple sclerosis in Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Islay.

Keep up to date on Twitter @handsupfortrad Instagram @handsupfortrad on Facebook:

Please use Hashtags #NaTrads #HUFTOnline #BBCALBA

BBC ALBA weaves bold stories in new drama series An Clò Mòr (The Great Cloth)

BBC ALBA will kick off the new year in bold fashion with the launch of Harris Tweed-based drama, An Clò Mòr.

The new, six-part series will premiere on BBC ALBA and BBC iPlayer on Monday 2 January 2023 at 9pm.

This vibrant Hebridean based international industry has been dramatised in a bold tale of passion, rivalry and intrigue for audiences in Scotland and the UK.  From mysterious arrivals to illicit love affairs and a family on the brink of collapse, this fresh, new drama is punctuated with super charged, tension filled moments.

The series is set around MacSween’s Mill – a traditional family-run tweed business – and opens with the business in crisis.  A skeleton workforce cling onto their jobs by their fingertips, and time is running out for mill owner, Seumas MacSween (Ewan MacKinnon), as he tries to rescue his business.

In a desperate attempt to bail out his business and continue with traditional ways, Seumas seeks the financial help of old family friends from Norway.

Norwegian businessman Johan Furseth (Fredrik Malte Petersen) arrives on the island full of swagger and cut-throat business plans but soon clashes with mill manager, Sìleas MacSween (Erica Morrison).

Erica Morrison – who plays glamorous mill manager Sìleas MacSween. © Sradag Creative / Solus Productions / MG ALBA.

Old resentments and underlying tensions in the MacSween family are unearthed, delivering a host of gripping, contemporary storylines.

The rich colour palette of the Harris landscape, the atmospheric soundtrack of fast-paced looms weaving rich and textured tweed and a family teetering on the brink of collapse provides a vibrant back drop for this stylish drama.

An Clò Mòr is produced by Solus Productions for BBC ALBA and is funded by MG ALBA and Screen Scotland.

Executive producer/director Tony Kearney said: “The Harris Tweed industry is colourful and fascinating. Basing a drama around this topical, international and exciting world gives us so much story potential. 

“Filming in the traditional artisan Carloway Tweed Mill on the west side of the Isle of Lewis was an experience I shall never forget. The staff were so accommodating and witnessing this 19th century craft up close was an utter privilege.

“It was also a joy to film against the backdrop of the beautiful Isle of Harris. We had an incredibly-talented cast, each and every one of them immersed themselves into their respective characters, adding their own particular nuances along the way. We’re just so excited to share this new drama with the wider public now!”

Ewen MacKinnon – who plays mill owner Seumas MacSween. © Sradag Creative / Solus Productions / MG ALBA.

Executive producer Jim Webster added: “We at Solus Productions strongly believe that this new stylish, vibrant, high-quality Gaelic language drama will have maximum broad appeal to the heartland Gaelic-speaking audiences and beyond.

“It’s an ambitious drama which pushes our characters to the brink and, in turn, should make the audience wince, laugh and cry along the way. We hope the audience enjoys watching it as much as we enjoyed shooting it in the beautiful Western Isles.”

Executive producer and commissioner Bill Macleod said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to bring this stunning production to BBC ALBA.

“Set amongst the wonderful landscape and industry of the Western Isles, An Clò Mòr is a magnificent representation of our Gaelic heartland, but also carries an international flavour.

“We can’t wait to start watching the drama unfold with you in the new year.”

Sean Greenhorn, Screen Scotland screen officer – scripted said: “An Clò Mòr is a riveting story of familial passion and rivalry based in the Hebrides, for today’s audiences. 

“Through collaboration with our colleagues at MG ALBA and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, alongside Solus Productions, this production made it possible to deliver a valuable training programme to the local community.

“Developing the crew base is essential to the rapid growth of our screen industry, as we continue to deliver training and production support right across Scotland.”

Episode one of An Clò Mòr airs on BBC ALBA on Monday 2 January at 9pm and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Industry professionals help Scottish students to create Gaelic short films

With less than a month to go until the entry deadline for FilmG, a talented roster from across the Scottish media sector have been running workshops across the country to support aspiring filmmakers to create their own Gaelic short films.

Since this year’s competition kicked off in September, workshops have taken place in Inverness, Lewis, Gairloch, Ullapool, Oban, Dingwall, Dunoon, Aberdeen and Skye, with dozens more planned across Scotland in the coming month.

During the two-day workshops, tutors have been working on the intricacies of good storytelling and technical work, as well as the importance of effective editing to bring the young creatives’ stories to life.

FilmG aims to discover, support and develop the future Gaelic stars of the media industry in Scotland, by utilising the existing talent – both in front of and behind the camera – to impart some of their knowledge to the next generation.

In Gairloch, this year’s workshops kicked off at Gairloch High School, where students created two films, one depicting how their village has changed over the years and the other a drama about premonitions of the future, with support from BBC ALBA filmmaker Dòl Eòin MacKinnon and FilmG’s Megan Dale.

In Skye, pupils at Portree High School were tutored by Bannan actor Alistair MacKay, BBC ALBA director Fiann MacLeod and FilmG’s own Murdo MacSween and Megan Dale, creating three separate films.

BBC ALBA Filmmaker Fiann MacLeod was returning to his old high school, the very place where he’d picked up a passion for filmmaking.

Oban High School students worked with Bannan actor Iain Beggs and FilmG’s own Megan

In Ullapool, BBC ALBA filmmaker Dòl Eòin MacKinnon workshopped two different films with the pupils from Ullapool Primary School.

In Stornoway, award-winning BBC ALBA filmmaker David Martin and local videographer Ruaraidh Urpeth took charge of workshops as pupils as created two raucous films. One saw the children stealing yellow items from around the school, while the other hosted their very own version of Britain’s Got Talent.

The FilmG team were delighted to hear that a third group were working on a film independently, working to highlight the good work of a local charity.

In Inverness, Millburn Academy pupils worked with Bannan actor Alistair MacKay to deliver two films across four days of tutoring.

In Dingwall, pupils at Dingwall Primary School worked with FilmG’s Megan Dale on a film about a boy who joins a school with no Gaelic and then magically develops the ability to speak the language after growing a plant using magic seeds.

In Oban, Oban High School students worked with Bannan actor Iain Beggs and FilmG’s own Megan Dale with a Halloween-inspired film all about a cult obsessed with the colour yellow.

In Dunoon, BBC ALBA actor Daibhidh Walker and FilmG’s Megan Dale worked with World School of the Year, Dunoon Grammar School, to create two dramatic films – one inspired by the film ‘Happy Gilmore’ and the other filmed in Dunoon’s very own police station!

In Bishopbriggs, BBC ALBA filmmakers Dòl Eòin MacKinnon and Fiann MacLeod tutored two separate groups at Bishopbriggs Academy.

In Glasgow, Bannan actors Dòl Eòin MacKinnon and Daibhidh Walker worked together to help the pupils script and film their own idea.

In Stirling, BBC ALBA filmmaker Fiann MacLeod visited Wallace High School and worked with eight S1 pupils to bring about their fictional idea.

In Aberdeen, local BBC ALBA media company Midas Media visited Hazlehead Academy, with filmmakers Pat MacLeod and Ross Young helping to bring together the school’s entry.

In East Kilbride, BBC ALBA actor Daibhidh Walker worked with a group of seven pupils at Calderglen High School. Their film used this year’s theme of yellow in an imaginative way through storytelling.

The next few weeks are set to be just as busy for the FilmG tutor team, with workshops taking place across Argyll and the Islands, throughout the central belt and across the Highlands, too.

Workshops will be running right up until the deadline of the 9 th December 2022; the rules are all published on the FilmG website, but it is simple – create a Gaelic film, keep the duration under five minutes and get it in before the deadline.

FilmG Project Manager Murdo MacSween said: “FilmG fever is really taking hold with entrants working all across Scotland to deliver films.

“We’re still receiving requests to support even more entries and, even with less than a month to go, we’d love to hear from any other schools, groups or independent filmmakers who want to have a go!”

The FilmG competition is aimed at both those under 18 (Youth) and those over 18 (Open), with 17 distinct categories in total, and this year filmmakers will be celebrated for their originality, creativity and for taking initiative.

There are new and revamped categories this year, including the new Rising Star (Youth) and Industry (Open) awards, aimed at finding the next big thing in media, and there are the Production Design (Youth) and Creativity (Open) awards which could reward those who make films that follow the theme of Yellow (Buidhe).

The rules are published on the FilmG website, but it is simple – create a Gaelic film, keep the duration under five minutes and get it in before the deadline (9th December 2022).

To see the complete list of categories and to enter FilmG, visit or contact the team at Astar Media via

BBC ALBA documentary discovers what life was like for the children of island ministers

A new two-part BBC ALBA documentary delves into what life was like for the children of ministers from the Western Isles – from the 1960s to the present day.

As a part of the award-winning Trusadh series, Cathy MacDonald presents Trusadh: Children of the Manse – a warm and moving glimpse of the experiences of the sons and daughters of the manse, who also consider how their upbringing has informed their worldview.

The two-part documentary largely focuses on clergymen who served in churches in the Outer Hebrides and features archive footage from the 1960s and 70s, alongside interviews with their children, some of whom have continued to practise the Christian faith.

For some, like Donald John MacAulay, being  a son of the manse was a heavy burden at times. Despite a rebellious youth, Donald John describes how his faith has strengthened over the years.

Some felt stifled, under constant surveillance and in the spotlight. Others profess to feeling they were ‘escaping’ to university.

For others, like Reverend Iver Martin, they have turned to God and become men of the manse themselves.  Following in the footsteps of his father, Reverend Murdo Martin of Lewis and latterly Inverness, Iver is now minister, moderator and principal of the Edinburgh Theological Seminary.

Cathy also chats with Jessie Mary Little, daughter of Reverend Angus Smith, the well-known minister who protested against Sunday sailings in Skye in 1965.

Rachel MacPherson, daughter of Reverend Donald MacRae, shares warm-hearted stories about her father and others tell of the camaraderie of communion season, creating a portrait of the communities in which they grew up.

Everything they learned growing up in the manse, shaped the minds of these youngsters and made them the people they are today.

In episode two, we hear from children of the manse from more recent times.

Cathy speaks to a younger generation, who share memories of the upbringing they had, the interesting people they met and the values they have been taught from a young age and how that has influenced their lives.

Among those who Cathy meets up with are Gilleasbuig Ferguson, who was brought up in a busy manse, where people from all walks of life were warmly welcomed and shown hospitality, Kirsteen Murray, who pursued a career in music and Rachel Kate Macleod, an artist, who created an exhibition about the culture she was brought up in.

Part one of Trusadh: Children of the Manse airs on BBC ALBA on Monday 14 November at 9pm, with part two on the channel on Monday 21 November at 9pm.

Both episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast.