Plucking at the harp strings earns Rebecca award

Rebecca Hill from Connel scooped the MG Alba Traditional Music Award for 'Up and Coming Artist of the Year'.

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Lever harpist Rebecca Hill was one of five winners originating from the Highlands and Islands at the recent MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards and the 24-year-old from Connel couldn’t have been more delighted.

‘I am so honoured to have won this year’s Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the MG Alba Trad Music Awards,’ she told the Oban Times.

‘Even being nominated was a huge surprise and I am very grateful for everyone’s support and encouragement throughout my music career so far.’

From a young age Rebecca was always encouraged to participate in ceilidh events in north Lorn that were regularly organised by her great uncle and auntie, Neil and Sheila Sinclair as well as her cousin Sileas Sinclair.

‘Constant encouragement from them coupled with a very strong sense of community linked to traditional music meant that my interest was captured,’ she added.

‘Another influential person was my first clarsach teacher, Toni Russell, who encouraged a wave of young harpists in Oban at the time to take up individual and ensemble lessons.

‘Coming from Oban I was also inspired by many of the other artists from the local and surrounding area who were playing professionally.’

Rebecca is no stranger to the award circuit. In 2016 she was a semi-finalist of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and reached the finals of the Princess Margaret of the Isles Senior Clàrsach Competition in 2019. Earlier this year she made it to the semi-finals of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2020.

Rebecca’s musical interest was initially sparked at  Fèis Latharna, then in 2013 she was drawn to Glasgow’s vibrant folk scene. In 2017 she graduated with a First-Class Honours degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Traditional Music programme and released her debut EP The Airing at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections 2020.

The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards was broadcast on BBC ALBA on Saturday, December 12 at 9pm in a special programme named Na Trads 2020. The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer until Junuary 11.

Tiree trad-rock outfit Skerryvore (Original Work of the Year), three-piece sensations Peat and Diesel (Trad Video of the Year) and singer/songwriter Josie Duncan (Music Tutor of the Year), all from Lewis, along with online ceilidh Tunes in the Hoose (Community Music Project of the Year), co-founded by Oban accordionist Martin MacLeod, also lifted one of the of 12 honours announced during the special Na Trad 2020 programme.

For more information and a full list of award recipients for 2020 go to