Virtual music community tune up for awards

Martin MacLeod junior and senior get to work on 'Tunes in the Hoose'.

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An online performance platform featuring musicians from Argyll and Bute, Lochaber and further afield has been nominated for the Community Project of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards 2020.

Launched on Facebook in April by Capercaillie founder Martin MacLeod – who is originally from Oban – and his son, also Martin, Tunes in the Hoose has become a global phenomenon with artists joining from all over the world forming a virtual musical community, born out of lockdown.

The initiative was inspired by Scottish musician, and family friend of the MacLeods, Peter Wood, who was posting videos of himself playing tunes in his home during self-isolation back in March.

Having seen the footage, Martin senior called his filmmaker son to ask if he had the technology and know-how to put a video together of him playing along to Peter’s video. The rest is history.

In its first five months alone the site boasted 411 productions, 2.5 million views worldwide, 10,000 followers from 75 countries, and 800 traditional Scottish musician members.

Speaking to the Oban Times last week, Martin junior said: ‘When we created Tunes in the Hoose there was very little opportunity for musicians to share their talents to an audience and also little opportunity for audiences to enjoy live music.

‘My dad has lived and breathed the scene for over 40 years and really wanted to do something to preserve the craft and maintain morale throughout these trying times.

‘The first step in doing this was to make Scottish music the most accessible it has ever been. Participants only need a mobile device and a Facebook account to get involved.

‘We are honoured to have our ‘wee project’ recognised as a worthy candidate, alongside all the fantastic community projects that have taken place this year. Thank you to all who nominated us!’

Featuring phenomenal performances from leading trad musicians, the highly regarded annual awards give recognition to excellence within Scotland’s thriving traditional musical culture.

Tweaked for 2020 to reflect the huge change the entire industry has made due to Covid-19, this year’s 12 awards are:

•Music Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Creative Scotland
•Gaelic Singer of the Year, sponsored by The Highland Society of London
•Album of The Year, sponsored by Birnam CD
•Up & Coming artist of the Year, sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
•Event of the Year
•Community Music Project of the Year, sponsored by Greentrax Recordings
•Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Music and •Song Association (TMSA)
•Trad Video of the Year, sponsored by Threads of Sound
•Online Performance of 2020, sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust
•Services to Gaelic Award, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig
•Original Work of the Year, sponsored by PRS for Music
•Trad Music in the Media, sponsored by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
•Musician of the Year, sponsored by the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Voting started on Monday November 3 and runs to Sunday, November 18. The results will be announced on Na Trads TV programme on December 12 on BBC Alba.

To see nominees for all categories and to vote go to tunesinthehoose.com and click on the link.