SINGER and mandolin and guitar player Calum McIlroy, from Aberdeenshire, has taken home the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2024 title.

A packed audience in Glasgow’s City Halls watched six finalists vie for the title on Sunday night, in an event which was broadcast live on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC ALBA.

The BBC Radio Scotland contest is renowned as one of the biggest platforms for emerging talent in traditional music, encouraging and validating musicians who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in the scene across singing, piping, accordion, fiddle, and piano playing and more.

Winning the title has been a springboard for numerous Scottish traditional music exponents to garner international acclaim.

Presenter Joy Dunlop said: “Calum is a truly worthy winner of this year’s BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician award, and we hope this is recognition which will lead to more success for him.

“All our finalists performed incredibly this year and they all deserve praise for their contribution to the traditional music scene in Scotland.”

This year’s winner joins a star-studded list which includes pianist Amy Laurenson, who took home the 2023 title, plus fiddlers Eryn Rae and Benedict Morris, pianist Michael Biggins, piper Ali Levack, and singer Hannah Rarity.

McIlroy said: “Winning this prestigious award is incredible. It means a lot to me. This competition has done so much to help foster and develop young talent within the Scottish traditional music sector and I’m proud to be in the company of all the amazing previous winners.”

From Westhill in Aberdeenshire, McIlroy first learned about traditional music in his school ceilidh band. After leaving school he went on to play with the North East Folk Collective and took part in the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail in 2016-17.

After finishing a diploma in music in Aberdeen, he moved to Glasgow to study on the BMus Traditional Music Course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

As well as tutoring through various organisations, McIlroy plays in his own trio as well as alongside many major names in the genre.

Among the other finalists were deaf/hard of hearing singer and step dancer Evie Waddell, who – in a first for the event – used British Sign Language in her performance, plus bagpipe player John Dew; fiddle player Matt Tighe, and singers Ruairidh Gray and Ella Munro.

As the winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2024 award, McIlroy will have a recording session with BBC Scotland, get the opportunity to perform at the Scots Trad Music Awards later in the year, and a one-year membership to the Musicians Union. All the finalists receive a one-year membership to the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA), plus gain the opportunity to take part in the TMSA’s annual Young Trad Tour.

Organised by BBC Radio Scotland, the Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition has been increasing the profile of Scottish traditional music and recognising rising talent in the genre since 2001.