Entertainment

Protest song wins traditional music award

The song was written by Skipinnish in protest at a Scottish Government fishing policy (Andrew King/PA)
The song was written by Skipinnish in protest at a Scottish Government fishing policy (Andrew King/PA) The song was written by Skipinnish in protest at a Scottish Government fishing policy (Andrew King/PA)

A song written in protest at a Scottish Government fishing policy has won original work of the year at the Scots Trad Music Awards.

Skipinnish wrote The Clearances Again following the launch of plans by the Scottish Government to limit human activity in at least 10% of Scottish waters with the creation of highly protected marine areas (HPMAs).

Following a consultation on the issue, which garnered widespread opposition, including among SNP MSPs, the plan was eventually dropped.

Written from the perspective of Outer Hebrides-based fisherman Donald Francis MacNeil – a friend of Skipinnish co-founder Angus MacPhail – the song compared the proposed policy to the Highland clearances, which saw the forced eviction of Scots across the Highlands and Islands.

After winning the award at the ceremony at Dundee’s Caird Hall, Mr MacPhail said: “We set out to write and record a song that would send a message to politicians, loud and clear, that HPMAs would devastate our coastal communities, their economies and their way of life.

“We know that message was heard and the Government took action.

“I have known (Donald Francis) for many years and understand what fishing means to him, his family and his community.

“Therefore, it was an honour to present The Clearances Again from his perspective, telling his story to illustrate what was at stake so listeners could understand the depth of feeling and dismay at what was being proposed.

“We are delighted the song resonated with so many people across Scotland and beyond.”

Mr MacNeil said: “This has been an amazing journey and I’m delighted to have contributed to a piece of work that secured this award.

“It’s a worthy winner. Angus wrote a beautifully powerful song that made a real difference in securing my way of life and that of my children and grandchildren.

“The Clearances Again expertly illustrated the real-life implications of Holyrood policy on our communities and I believe the powerful writing and beautiful music meant the song spurred on many who wanted to join our fight.”

Elsewhere at the awards, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis was named musician of the year while Iona Fyfe won Scots singer of the year, fiddler Duncan Chisholm won album of the year and Eilidh Cormack was presented with the award for Gaelic singer of the year.