Winning videos launched for ‘In Tune with Nature’ lockdown contest

13 November 2020

Stunning videos, featuring award-winning compositions inspired by Scotland’s national nature reserves, are being released today by NatureScot and Highland arts organisation, Fèis Rois.

The first competition of its kind in Scotland encouraged entrants to connect with nature by writing music inspired by the coasts and waters of Scotland’s beautiful nature reserves, as part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

The 11 music videos are being launched online to help connect people to nature through music. The competition, In Tune With Nature / Air Ghleus le Nàdar, was judged by a panel of well-known faces from the Scottish music industry, including Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis; BBC broadcaster and journalist Vic Galloway; Scottish Music Centre Director Gill Maxwell; and singer-songwriter Karine Polwart. Compositions entered ranged from classical to pop with songs written in Gaelic, Scots, Shetland dialect and English.

The winners each received a £500 cash prize and, when Covid-19 restrictions were eased, had the opportunity to visit the nature reserve that inspired their music with filmmaker, Graeme Roger from Wildbird. These compositions and accompanying videos, which feature footage recorded on the Isle of Rum, Beinn Eighe, Forvie, Isle of May, Tentsmuir, Caerlaverock, Creag Meagaidh, Loch Leven and Taynish, are now available to watch on the NatureScot website.

Singer-songwriter, Iona Lane, whose entry was inspired by the Isle of Rum, said:

“The nature reserves in Scotland are all wonderfully beautiful places. Having the opportunity to write music about the spectacular Isle of Rum was a true honour and a delight that kept me in touch with nature whilst being locked down in a city. Visiting Rum was even wilder than I could have imagined. Exploring an island that has nature, wildlife and sustainability at its heart was a terrific experience; one that I will never forget.”

Ben Ross, SNH’s Head of Nature Reserves, added:

“It’s wonderful to see the creativity and love of nature shown in these pieces and videos. Under the lockdown, composers had to experience the nature of our amazing national nature reserves virtually or think back to past visits. So it’s particularly fitting that they’ve been able to visit and have their music set to images of our lovely nature reserves. These sites have such an amazing variety of wildlife, as well as stunning beaches, mountains, lochs and rivers for people to enjoy. It’s hard not to be inspired by such beauty!”

Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive of Fèis Rois, commented: “We were overwhelmed at the quality of entries for In Tune With Nature and it is a pleasure to finally be able to share the brilliant music and creativity produced during lockdown and filmed in the nature reserves that inspired the musicians. It has been important to us, over the last few months more than ever, to provide support and motivation for musicians whilst also providing people with new music to lift spirits.”

To watch the In Tune With Nature films, please visit Nature.Scot.




About Fèis Rois

  • Fèis Rois enable people of all ages to access, participate in and enjoy the traditional arts and Gaelic language through a diverse programme of activities in Ross & Cromarty, across Scotland and beyond.
  • Based in Dingwall, Fèis Rois is widely recognised as a national leader in the arts, particularly in music education and was established in 1986. 
  • There are now more than 40 fèisean in communities across Scotland. However, Fèis Rois is unique within the fèisean movement as it has a team of full-time staff that enable the work of Fèis Rois to take place year-round and extend well beyond the local community.

About In Tune with Nature

The 12 winning composers of In Tune With Nature / Air Ghleus le Nàdar were:

  • Marie Fielding - Beinn Eighe

Born in Edinburgh, award-winning fiddler and composer Marie Fielding has been immersed in traditional music from a young age. Performing, playing for dancing as well as numerous recordings to her name, Marie is also Lecturer in Fiddle and Performance at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. An outdoor enthusiast, Marie is a keen artist, often painting Scottish Landscapes in an abstract style.

  • Lucie Treacher - Caerlaverock

Lucie Treacher is a composer and artist creating interactive sound experiences, digital and theatrical, virtual and real. Her work is characterised by quirky and textural sound worlds which she weaves together in her multi-disciplinary creations. She was born in Dumfries and grew up in Glasgow and the Highlands.

  • Charlie Grey - Creag Meagaidh

Charlie Grey is a fiddle player from the Great Glen. He has performed worldwide and has recorded on 6 studio albums to date. Charlie’s love for the landscape of the Scottish Highlands, culture and its music has shaped his playing style hugely. At 14 Charlie was accepted into the National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music and has learnt from some of Scotland and Ireland’s most notable fiddle players including Charlie Mckerron, Caoimhín Ó’Raghallaigh and Duncan Chisholm.

  • James Lindsay - Forvie

James Lindsay is a musician, composer and educator now based in Glasgow, Scotland. He plays bass with award-winning contemporary folk group Breabach whilst also being an in-demand session artist on the folk and jazz scenes. His debut solo album Strand was released in 2017 to critical acclaim.

  • Catriona Price - Isle of May

Violinist and composer Catriona Price studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music having spent her childhood in Orkney folk sessions. She is a member of contemporary duo Twelfth Day and folk band Fara and regularly tours the world with both groups.

  • Beth Malcolm - Loch Leven

Perth-native Beth Malcolm is a folk-inspired singer/songwriter, keys player and History teacher. She has frequently performed at the Glasgow Star; appeared at Orkney Folk Festival and The Carrying Stream and won Edinburgh Folk Club’s songwriting competition. In January 2020, Beth won a prestigious Danny Kyle award at Celtic Connections.

  • Sarah MacNeil - Noss

Sarah MacNeil is Scottish harpist, composer and graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She works full time as a musician and loves both performing and composing. Earlier this year Sarah released an EP of six own compositions titled ’Northbay’ inspired by the Isle of Barra. She is often inspired by places, scenery and the nature around us.

Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Noss was the only nature reserve the project could not visit in 2020. Sarah will go to Shetland in Spring 2021 to create a video to accompany her music.

  • Iona Lane - Rum (Joint winner)

Recently graduating from Leeds College of Music and having been awarded the Taran Guitars Young Player Bursary 2020, Iona delivers well-crafted songs that have an understanding beyond her years for the stories she tells. Having found herself fascinated by discovering untold folk stories from rural parts of the UK, where the natural environment, landscape, sustainability and community are integral to people’s way of life, Iona has honed her songwriting to create something really special.

  • Ross Hull - Rum (Joint winner)

Ross Hull is a fiddle player living in Glasgow. After spending 6th year of school at Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd, the Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music, he went on to graduate BA Applied Music from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Since graduating, Ross been working as a self-employed musician.

  • Malin Lewis - Taynish (Joint winner)

Malin is a Piper, fiddler and Smallpipe maker from the Isle of Skye, currently studying piping at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their two main projects are Two Octaves and Bogha Frois- LGBT+ voices in folk. Malin teaches Smallpipes at the National Piping Centre and Scots Music Group and is about to publish their first collection of original tunes.

  • Roo Geddes and Neil Sutcliffe - Taynish (Joint winner)

Roo Geddes (Glasgow) and Neil Sutcliffe (Stirling) met at the Junior Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014. They developed a close friendship and musical duo, delving into their shared backgrounds of folk, jazz and classical music. They also work together to compose new music, inspired by their shared love of nature, stories and community.

  • Barney Bridges - Tentsmuir

Barney Bridges is a Belgian musician living in Glasgow. His passion for music started at the age of 10 when he first picked up a guitar. Since then his growing fascination has lead him to become a luthier where he now creates one of a kind instruments for customers.