SCOTLAND’S leading traditional and folk musicians came together last night at Perth’s Concert Hall to celebrate the annual Trad Awards.

A night often referred to as the folkies’ Christmas party was punctuated with performances from Karine Polwart, Croft Number 5, Kinnaris Quintet and Scotland’s only Gaelic rapper, Griogair Labhruidh, among others on an evening when the diversity of Scotland’s traditional music scene was on full display.

Big winners included three-piece Talisk, who received the Belhaven Bursary, an award for innovation that brings with it £25,000.

Talisk have been one of the revelations of recent years with their carefully crafted tunes built around the virtuoso concertina playing of Mohsen Amini. Named Folk Band of the Year in 2017, the trio have built upon that success and, given the success of their second album, Beyond, they are showing now signs of slowing up.

Gordon Muir, marketing controller for Belhaven Brewery, said he was “delighted” to be giving the trio the bursary.

He said: “The energy and changing moods of their music and their connection with their audiences made them the stand-out act in a shortlist full of talented artists, each of whom takes the wonderful spirit of traditional Scottish music and takes it forward in new ways.

“We very much look forward to working with Talisk on an exciting bursary programme which will kick off in May, including applying their creativity to co-inventing a celebratory beer and of course concerts including the Post Parade Party at New York Tartan Week.”

Elephant Sessions, recipients of last year’s Belhaven Bursary, were named Live Act of the Year and, as anyone who has witnessed the energy of their live performances can attest, it is an accolade that is richly deserved.

The coveted Album of the Year award went to Duncan Chisholm for Sandwood, a beautifully realised celebration of the remote Sutherland beach. Chisholm has long been one of Scotland’s finest musicians and Sandwood is perhaps his finest work to date. In recognition of that fact, he also won the Composer of the Year award at last night’s ceremony.

Folk Band of the Year went to Daimh whose The Rough Bounds album was one of the releases of the year. Taking inspiration from their local Lochaber area, Daimh’s blend of tunes and Gaelic song has been honed over 20 years and that experience has seen them grow into one of the mainstays of the Scottish folk scene.

Assynt, one of the year’s revelations, were named as Up and Coming Artist of the Year on the back of their sensational debut album, Road to the North.

Our very own The National columnist Eilidh Cormack of Sian was named as Gaelic Singer of the Year. Cormack, who most recently lent her considerable vocal talents to computer game, The Bard’s Tale IV, is a former gold medal winner at the National Mod and was announced as Gaelic Ambassador of the Year at this year’s Mod in Dunoon.

Unfortunately, The National lost out in the running for the Trad Music in the Media award which went to BBC Radio Scotland’s excellent Pipeline programme.

Venue of the year went to the Drygate Brewery in Glasgow while Partick Folk Club won in the Club of the Year category.

Organiser Simon Thoumire of Hands up for Trad said: “What another great year of Scottish trad music! There is so much vitality in the scene right now and it is only getting stronger. Roll on 2019.”