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Ewan Robertson

Young Traditional Musician of the Year

Ewan Robertson is the winner of the 2008 BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award.


24-year-old guitarist and singer Ewan Robertson hails from Carrbridge in Strathspey, where he was introduced to traditional music at an early age, attending village hall ceilidhs and listening to Capercaillie tapes in the back of his mum’s Volkswagen Beetle.  He began learning fiddle and chanter at the age of seven, studying both at school and privately, and through the local Fèis movement which provided him with the opportunity to perform with other young musicians and learn from musical role models.

Breabach; Photo: Louis de Carlo

Ewan was accepted into the National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music in Plockton in 2000 where he started studying fiddle and pipes.  A shortage of accompanists at the school, however, led Ewan to begin experimenting with the guitar, an instrument he continued to play whilst he was enrolled for an Honours degree in Outdoor Education in Glasgow.  Here he used the vibrant session scene to develop a unique, driving style of guitar accompaniment.

Along with Patsy Reid, Donal Brown and Calum MacCrimmon, Ewan formed the band Breabach, who won a Danny Award at Celtic Connections in 2005, and were nominated for Scottish Folk Band of the Year at the 2007 Scots Trad Music Awards, the same year their debut album The Big Spree was released on the Vertical label.  Ewan has also performed in Scotland and abroad with Donald Shaw and Charlie McKerron, The Rachel Walker Band, Dannsa, Gary Innes and Six Foot Ginger.

Young Traditional Musician of the Year

On 27 January, Ewan’s upbeat mix of guitar and vocals won him the 2008 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award.  The finals of the competition, attended by Minister for Europe External Affairs and Culture, Linda Fabiani MSP, were held at Glasgow’s City Halls as part of the Celtic Connections festival and broadcast live on BBC Radio Scotland.

Ewan Robertson, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2008; Courtesy: BBC Scotland Ewan was up against five other talented young musicians – Steven Blake (pipes, whistle), Amy Lord (Scots Song), James Duncan MacKenzie (pipes, small pipes, flute, whistles) and Ailie Robertson (clarsach) – all of whom receive a year’s membership of the Traditional Music and Song Association and a session on BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk show, presented by Archie Fisher.

Ewan said, 'We have all thoroughly enjoyed the weekend – especially tonight's performance.  The other finalists were amazing and I am honoured to be taking this award away with me tonight.'  The Awards have been supported by BBC Radio Scotland since their launch eight years ago, to encourage young musicians to keep their tradition alive and to maximise their musical potential.

For more information visit the Breabach website.

Related links
* Vertical Records
* Celtic Connections
* Hands Up For Trad
* BBC Radio Scotland
* Active Events
* National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music
* Traditional Music and Song Association
* Music home
* Other music features
* Music features archive
* Music projects
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