SCOTTISH Album of the Year winner Brian d’Souza has spoken of his shock at winning the prestigious award.

D’Souza, who performs as Auntie Flo, was finishing his set at the Skye Live Festival in Portree when he was told his Radio Highlife album had scooped the £20,000 prize, beating off an impressive shortlist in the process.

“OH MY DAYS. Just finished djing at @SkyeLiveFest and found out we WON the @SAYaward!!!,” he tweeted before celebrating with fans at the festival.

He later paid tribute to the musicians on the album and Gilles Peterson who released the record on his Brownswood label.

Accepting the prize on his behalf at the SAY Awards in Glasgow, his tour manager, driver and DJ Phil Connor read a message written in advance on a napkin by Auntie Flo, saying: “It’s been a privilege to document seven years of adventuring around the globe in this record.

“It has taken me everywhere from Cuba to South Africa to East Asia. Thank you to everyone who made that happen over the years.”

Originally from Glasgow but now based in London, D’Souza has travelled the world playing his unique “Afro-futurist” sound, either solo as a DJ or with his live band.

He has built up a solid fan base in Scotland both through his gigs and as co-promoter of the innovative Highlife night in Glasgow, but it is his third album that has brought him widespread acclaim.

“In terms of the SAY Award itself, I’m back home a lot,” he said. “Scotland – and Glasgow in particular – is where my musical education comes from, and things I’ve done there have been the whole basis of my Auntie Flo project. So being rewarded with this in my home country is fantastic.”

Radio Highlife features field recordings and studio sessions from everywhere from Cape Town to Cuba and voices from Senegal, Russia and Istanbul, as well as the UK.

“Radio Highlife is absolute proof that Scotland’s music travels a two-way street with the rest of the world,” said Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland.

“Brian d’Souza has brought the sunshine of Africa into the SAY Award and gives us a worthy winner. Congratulations to him and to all of the shortlisted nominees.”

The others shortlisted for the award were Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert for Here Lies The Body, Andrew Wasylyk for The Paralian, C Duncan for Health, Carla J Easton for Impossible Stuff, the Fergus McCreadie Trio for Turas, Free Love for Luxury Hits, Karine Polwart with Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson for Laws of Motion, Kathryn Joseph for From When I Wake The Want Is and Mastersystem for Dance Music.

Nine were chosen by The SAY Award Judging Panel, which this year featured a 50:50 gender split, while Mastersystem’s Dance Music was chosen by music fans via this year’s online public vote.

In addition to the £1000 runners-up prize, the shortlisted artists received a specially designed commemorative award created by Edinburgh artist Emma McDowall, based on the famous Salisbury Crags of her home city.

The glittering award ceremony, held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh for the first time, saw more than 800 invited guests treated to memorable live sets from some of Scotland’s most exciting emerging artists. They including LYLO, Heir of the Cursed, Cucina Povera and Man of Moon.

The awards were presented by co-hosts Vic Galloway and Nicola Meighan.

Robert Kilpatrick, general manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association said a record 293 entries were submitted for the awards this year.

“Not only does this highlight the fact that Scotland’s recorded output is in great health, but it also shows that in spite of being in the age of algorithm-driven playlists, the album as a format still deeply matters to both artists and music fans,” he said.

“Albums remain the best delivery mechanism for artists to truly showcase their creative output and artistic identity. I’m incredibly proud that year-on-year, The SAY Award continues to go from strength to strength, showcasing the undeniable talent and diversity of Scottish artists and illuminating our music scene with the ambition, credibility and commitment it so richly deserves.

“A huge congratulations to Auntie Flo for winning 2019’s Scottish Album of the Year Award for the incredible Radio Highlife, and huge congratulations to each of this year’s shortlisted artists on outstanding album releases.

“Thank you for playing such an important part in Scotland’s ever-evolving and inspiring cultural identity as a nation.”

Peter Leathem of Phonographic Performance Limited added: “The quality of this year’s SAY Award shortlist reflects the strength and breadth of the Scottish music industry. It is home to creativity that for decades has produced globally recognised artists.

“Its cultural importance is matched by its economic importance, employing thousands of people across hundreds of businesses, significantly contributing to the country’s creative and cultural employment.”