Global audience for traditional music weekend at Armadale Castle

Capacity audiences enjoyed top class performances at Armadale Castle this weekend in two prestigious traditional music competitions. The events were also streamed live across the world for the first time, with music fans tuning in from as far afield as Australia, North America and Japan.

The winner of the 32nd Donald MacDonald Cuach piobaireachd competition on 15 June was  Iain Speirs (centre of picture). Iain has won the prize twice previously, in 2009 and 2016, and has also won both Gold medals and numerous other prizes. Iain lives in Edinburgh and is a member of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band.  The audience also enjoyed singing from Christine Primrose MBE, and playing from local rising star Malin Lewis and pupils from Bun-sgoil Shlèite (Sleat Primary School). The  other competitors were: Callum Beaumont, Glenn Brown, Alasdair Henderson and Craig Sutherland. Read more and download full programme here.

The winner of the inaugural Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach (16 June) was Riko Matsuoka. Riko was born in Osaka, Japan and is studying for a Masters in Scottish Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Her performance included a composition inspired by a Japanese traditional song and featuring both Scottish and Japanese musical styles. The other competitors were Màiri Chaimbeul, Fraya Thomsen and Karen Marshalsay. Read more and download full programme here.

Watch full performances and edited highlights on You Tube and Facebook.

Donald MacDonald Cuach is named in honour of the 18th-century piping pioneer and is a flagship cultural competition for Clan Donald Lands Trust. This year’s adjudicator was Allan MacDonald, and convenor Dr Angus MacDonald.

The Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach is a new prize named after for Princess Margaret of Scotland, the daughter of King Robert II and the wife of John, Lord of the Isles, and a great patron of the arts. Candidates in this new open competition were required to prepare a 25 minute recital including a variety of Scottish styles, traditional and contemporary, and a new composition of their own. The adjudicator was acclaimed Scottish-born harpist and composer Savourna Stevenson and convenor Professor Boyd Robertson, retiring Principle of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The competitions are a key part of Clan Donald Lands Trust’s ongoing commitment to supporting Gaelic performing arts and are made possible through generous support from international donors. Find out  more about CDLT’s support for cultural heritage.