Lewis and Ross-shire trio in finals of BBC folk awards

A musical trio forged in Lewis and Ross-shire have won through to the finals of one of the UK’s most prestigious awards for up-and-coming folk musicians.

The Mischa MacPherson Trio — featuring the eponymous singer from Lewis and band mates Conal McDonagh from Poolewe and Innes White from Dingwall — have been shortlisted for the finals of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award for 2014.

The trio — who all studied at various times at at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton — were formed after meeting through Feis Rois in 2011. Since then they have performed throughout the UK, with notable appearances at the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and Celtic Connections.

Singer and harpist Mishca (20) is currently a student at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, while 19-year-old Conal studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Innes is based in Glasgow.
The group were invited to Kendal in Cumbria for a weekend of workshops and performances filmed for a BBC documentary ahead of the semi-final show. BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe hosted the event, and the Highland trio made it through as one of four finalists.

The group will now travel to London on 19th February, when the winner will be announced at the Radio 2 Folk Awards held in the Royal Albert Hall.

Mischa said the group were “thrilled” at the accolade. “It’s really nice to know that there is a place for our Gaelic songs among the more contemporary Radio 2 folk scene,” she said. “As the only Scottish act through to the final we are really proud to be flying the flag for this wonderful culture, music and language that the three of us feel so passionately about.
“We are so thankful to Radio 2 for this wonderful opportunity and to everyone from home, like Feis Rois, who have encouraged us to this point. Although we really can’t picture actually winning, we are just extremely happy and very humbled to have made it to the final.”
The prizes for the winner of the Young Folk Award include the opportunity to play live in session for Radio 2’s Folk Show and to perform at top UK festivals, including the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival, in 2014.