Footstompin' Celtic Music

A New Record Label
Footstompin' Logo You may not have heard of them yet but you sure soon will do! Footstompin' Celtic Music is set to launch themselves big-time in the United States and get everyone's feet stomping.

Footstompin' is an Edinburgh based company which was formed four years ago, specialising in the bright young stars of Scottish Traditional Music. It would be a total misconception to imagine that performing traditional music - bagpipes, fiddles, clarsach, accordion, penny whistle and the like - is still left to the older generation. Today there is a wealth of extraordinary young talent who may also appreciate the top rock and pop singers of the world, but they themselves are as enthusiastic about the bagpipe and fiddle-playing as their great-grandparents.

The only difference might be in the style, drawing inspiration from a wealth of contemporary and international world-music sounds to produce a fabulously exciting blend of Celtic-rock or Scottish salsa fusion music. Simon Thoumire, a talented musician in his own right, noticed the up and coming young singers and musicians in the traditional music scene, but recognised the need for a recording company as well as the right venues, and festivals where they could perform and get noticed.

The Footstompin' Musicians
Glenlyon by Martyn Bennet Young Scottish musicians already on the Footstompin' label include the extraordinarily versatile and very original Piper and fiddler, Martyn Bennett - "guru of the Celtic dance scene and winner of the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland award". Also the Wrigley Sisters, two incredible fiddlers from Orkney, who perform internationally at major music and arts festivals. Their new CD Skyran is now available, reviewed in the Canberra Times: "The Wrigley Sisters play from the heart about their Orkney Islands homeland".

There is also Finlay McDonald, in his early 20s keeping up his clan traditions and described as the "coolest young piper".

Claire Mann There is also the highly accomplished flautist, Claire Mann who is certainly going places and six young Highlanders who make up Croft No. Five. This extremely talented and lively band was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Princes Street gardens for Hogmanay 2001. They were then hand-picked to fly to New York to perform during Tartan Week as part of the Distilled Festival of contemporary arts, music and comedy.

Award for New Talent
Simon Thoumire Artistic Director, Simon Thoumire and his colleagues, John Thoumire and Elizabeth Hepburn are dedicated to seeking out the next Martyn Bennett and other creative and talented musicians. Simon set up the Scottish Traditional Music Trust as a way of helping to finance and nurture young musicians.

Through the Music Trust, Footstompin' Celtic Music sponsors an annual award for the top young Scottish musician of the year. The winner receives a recording contract and professional advice about their work and how to develop their music career. Applications are invited from all eligible young singers and performers through wide-spread advertising in music clubs, schools, colleges, the BBC, media and local communities. Demo CD's and tapes are then sent in before a shortlist of around 20 musicians is selected.

These 20 young performers are then invited to a weekend workshop and training session, where they are given professional tuition and personal advice on their work. A public concert is then held at which the judges vote on the performances and the shortlist is narrowed down again to the final half dozen or so, depending on the quality taking part each year.

Celtic Connections Last year, seven went through to the final where they performed as part of the celebrated Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, a wonderful showcase of the very best in Scottish and Celtic music from around the world. At the Award final a top team of judges, including Fiona Ritchie known across the United States for her NPR programme, The Thistle and the Shamrock, watch and listen.

One musician is selected. Last year this was Emily Smith, a young singer from the South West of Scotland with a beautiful voice. Watch out for her name and her first CD from Footstompin' Celtic Music.

Gillian Frame - Back of the Moon The previous winner was Gillian Frame, a singer and fiddler with the band Back of the Moon. Following this success as the first winner of the Young Scottish Traditional Musician award, her future in music-making is certainly assured.

Enjoying the Music
With all these superb and talented young artists performing and recording in Scotland it is vital that people who love to listen to Scottish music hear their work across the world. Footstompin' Celtic Music are now developing an export strategy in order to appeal to and target the music listening audience in the United States.

If you listen to Fiona Ritchie's show of Celtic music each week, (and millions do), you may wish to buy some CDs of some very talented young singers, fiddlers and pipers.

Then sit back, listen and enjoy - or better still, invite some friends round and have a footstompin' ceilidh!

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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