Mairi Campbell wins Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2015!

Mairi-trad-award-portrait_webMairi is absolutely delighted to announce that she has won Instrumentalist of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2015 on Friday 5th December in Caird Hall in Dundee.


Mairi was up against the brilliant musicians Ali Hutton, Ross Couper, Tom Orr and Tomas Callister.


“Totally delighted to have won Instrumentalist of the Year,” said Mairi. “What a great night of music and craic. Thank you to all who voted and thanks too to Simon and team for all that organising. Amazing contributions, both rooted, traditional and innovative. Scotland’s music has big heart and a strong Pulse!”


Today’s article in the Scotsman has a wee bit more info about it all – many congrats all!




ALBUM OF THE YEAR Grind, Treacherous Orchestra


CLUB OF THE YEAR Orkney Accordion and Fiddle Club






EVENT OF THE YEAR Grit, Celtic Connections opening concert














SCOTTISH PIPE BAND OF THE YEAR Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band






UP-AND-COMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR League of Highland Gentlemen


VENUE OF THE YEAR SEALL at Sabhal Mor Ostaig

Vote for Mairi Campbell for Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2015

STMA_2015(nominee)Mairi is over the moon to announce that she has been nominated in the Instrumentalist of the Year category at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2015 on Friday 5th December in Caird Hall in Dundee.

Voting is now open and Mairi would like to encourage everyone to visit the voting survey by clicking here and place your vote.

The survey takes five minutes to complete and Mairi’s nomination is at question 9. Mairi is up against the brilliant musicians Ali Hutton, Ross Couper, Tom Orr and Tomas Callister.

“It’s down to a public vote at this stage,” said Mairi. “So folk go a bit all out to get people to vote. I’m up against four young guys ( all lovely of course!) who all play in hot folk bands… Tough competition but fingers crossed! Please vote for me if you feel moved to do so.”

At the same time as voting for instrumentalist of the year, people can also vote for album of the year, club of the year, composer of the year, community project of the year, event of the year, gaelic singer of the year, live act of the year, scots singer of the year and scottish dance band of the year, folk band of the year, pipe band of the year, trad music in the media, music tutor of the year, up and coming artist of the year and venue of the year.

Instrumentalist of the year

And then of course did we mention that you can vote for Mairi as instrumentalist of the year?!

The voting process begins on Monday 2nd November and finishes on Friday 20th November so do place your vote before then.

The aim of the Trad Music Awards is to highlight Scotland’s wonderful traditional music in all its forms and to create a high profile opportunity which will bring the music and music industry into the spotlight of media and public attention. It also spreads the word about Scottish traditional music in general.

People can vote by visiting:

And if you want to tweet about the awards, and encourage the Twittersphere to vote for Mairi, the twitter #tag is #tradawards

Happy voting!! Visit the website to place your vote for Mairi at question 9:

Celtic Connections 2016 premiere for Mairi Campbell’s show Pulse

Mairi Campbell is delighted to announce that she will premiere her theatre show Pulse at Celtic Connections 2016. Mairi will perform her new one-woman show at the Tron Theatre on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th January during the prestigious Showcase Scotland event at Celtic Connections.

In Pulse, Mairi sings, acts, plays and dances the story of her musical homecoming and journey of the heart. Mairi weaves live viola, voice, animation, movement and storytelling with tracks from her latest groundbreaking album Pulse. The show, which is directed by Kath Burlinson, begins with Mairi feeling creatively stultified by her classical training at the Guildhall School of Music in London. She then travels to Mexico and Cape Breton before returning to Scotland to take up her bow in the traditional music scene. In the background is her love story with her husband and musical collaborator Dave Francis, who teaches her to play her first tune by ear.

In 2012, Mairi was compelled to get into a studio and put down some improvisations. Pulse the album, a collaboration between Mairi and producer Dave Gray, emerged. At the same time, Mairi was looking for ways to integrate story, song and movement, as a show, while working alongside director Kath Burlinson. The show Pulse was born.

“It’s magic to get the chance to premiere Pulse at Celtic Connections,” said Mairi Campbell. “I’ve been on this journey with Pulse for many years and intensely since 2012. I’m really fascinated to see how the audience connects with the show. Long may our journeys seeking pulse continue.” The show will be split into two sets, with Mairi performing Pulse in the first half. In the second half, she will deliver a special concert of soundings and improvisations, and invite the audience to participate, as a continuation of Pulse.

Mairi is no stranger to Celtic Connections. She has performed at the music festival since the early days, with Dave Francis as the Cast and as a session musician. However 2016 marks Mairi’s first solo show at the festival. More info: Celtic Connections website

The background to Pulse In Mairi’s words…

Around 2012 I had a strong urge to get into a studio and put down some improvisations. I had never felt like that before. Totally compelled. Every few weeks I’d go to Dave Gray’s Sound Café studio and put down some more material. I’d say, “Dave, turn off the lights and turn on the mics. I’m going in!” Afterwards, I’d leave, not even listen. I just wanted it on record but couldn’t figure out why. There was an urgency and intensity about the music that came out in those sessions. I think it was connected to Scotland’s referendum. Many artists in Scotland have been going crazy needing to integrate all of that.

Anyway, I was surprised by what was coming up. It was way out left field, more exposed than anything that I’d done before. One day, on mentioning that I had no idea what I would do with the recordings, Dave Gray suggested that he wanted to add guitar and some percussion to them. A few days later we had our first track. We were both very excited by the sounds so we continued to create more together. It didn’t take long to have a full album: now Pulse.

Since 2011 I had also been working with Youth Music Theatre as music director and songwriter, and expanding my repertoire around movement and word through two routes: attending Kath Burlinson’s Authentic Artist retreats and doing a training in InterPlay, a cross form arts practice. There was also a general tone in the Scottish traditional arts community that some were looking for ways to integrate story, song and movement. I wanted to take that on. It was clear that this new music was a show, not a gig.

And so the show Pulse was born. The director Kath Burlinson and I have been working together for a few years and I love her work. She brings out the bold in you, that’s all I’m saying.  I don’t know how she does it. Such skilful facilitation and direction. Back to the now, I am really excited by what’s happening in Scotland, and I can see many more Pulse shows ahead. Our journeys seeking pulse continue.  

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland appointment for Mairi Campbell

Mairi Campbell has been appointed by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to teach improvisation to students on the BMus (Traditional Music) degree course.

Students can spend time with Campbell throughout the academic year learning to improvise within the folk music tradition. Campbell will also work with the students to reframe what it means to be a traditional musician, and expand the boundaries of the genre.

“I’m excited to be working with these gorgeous young musicians who are the future sound-keepers of this precious tradition,” said Campbell. “Trad musicians don’t just play tunes. They preserve and pass down the songs and stories of their local areas, and actively participate in their local communities.”

Campbell is keen to encourage students to get in touch with their creativity and find new ways of expressing traditional music and themselves.

“Jigs and reels are great and have an important place,” said Campbell. “But I want to help these young people find new forms for the music. Something else wants to happen with this music, and these young musicians are the ones to call it out.

Joshua Dickson, Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said of Campbell’s appointment: “Mairi Campbell has been an inspiration to her peers and students for many years through her exploration of the true, the joyous and the authentic in Scottish traditional music. These are precisely the things we encourage our students to pursue in our trailblazing degree curriculum, so our students could not be more excited to work with Mairi.”

Campbell felt creatively stifled and repressed by her own classical musical education at the Guildhall School of Music, which she explores in her new one-woman theatre show Pulse.

“I really felt the lack of not being able to play music from my roots,” Campbell said. “I had a real hankering to connect with my own music and know it and to express my spirit and creativity. You could say I’m now doing for my students what I wanted someone to do for me.”