Edinburgh acts dominate as Scottish Alternative Music Awards nominations revealed

Talent from Edinburgh and the Lothians has a strong showing in this year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA) nominations.

By Gary Flockhart
Monday, 1st November 2021, 2:21 pm
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 2:34 pm
Lizabett Russo is a Romanian-born, Edinburgh-based jazz-influenced artist.
Lizabett Russo is a Romanian-born, Edinburgh-based jazz-influenced artist.

SAMA 2021 will celebrate the rich creativity and innovation of musicians across Scotland and champion the best of the nation's emerging artists whose talents have shone over the past 12 months, despite the ongoing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the Best Rock category, nominees include West Lothian psych-tinged groove-makers Dictator, and Edinburgh’s Swim School, a dream-rock four-piece who recently wowed crowds as the support act for chart-topping stars The Snuts on their sell-out tour.

Edinburgh’s Dvne are nominated in the Best Metal category for their literary take on prog-metal, while fellow Capital band Frontierer, whose blend of mathcore and bludgeoning guitars has seen them acclaimed in Rolling Stone magazine, are also in the running.

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West Lothian psych-tinged groove-makers Dictator, whose run of early sold-out gigs was only cut short by the pandemic.

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In the Best Newcomer category is neo-soul artist Danny Cliff, whose honeyed vocals have enchanted lucky crowds in Edinburgh over recent years.

Auld Reekie is also home to fellow nominee Bee Asha.

Lizabett Russo, a Romanian-born, Edinburgh-based jazz-influenced artist with captivating vocals which recall Dolores O'Riordan and Susanne Sundfor, is up for Best Acoustic act.

In the Best Electronic category is Barry Can't Swim, an Edinburgh producer whose after-hours deep house earned him a tip as one of Annie Mac’s New Names For 2021.

Fans are asked to vote from a total of 28 of the best new artists in the country, selected by some of the country's most influential music tastemakers and champions, including Phoebe Inglis-Holmes of BBC Introducing In Scotland.

Inglis-Holmes explains: “I’m really delighted to see such a wide range of genres and artists being nominated at this year's event. This SAMAs 2021 honours list is truly full of some of the most exciting and deserving acts I think these awards have ever seen, to the extent that I think there'll be some really close calls for the winner, in multiple categories.

“It’ll be amazing to feel that nervous anticipation on the night to see who'll come out on top, and of course catch amazing live performances.”

Voting opens at officialsama.com/vote at 12noon on Monday, November 8 and runs until 5pm Wednesday, November 10.

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland says: “After championing Scotland’s musical diversity for more than a decade, it’s clear that the SAMAs have an uncanny ability to pinpoint emerging artists just as they’re about to break through to wider acclaim.

"These awards provide a major platform for the people creating music today that will define the music of tomorrow.

"The SAMAs are a key partner for Creative Scotland, helping us reach deep into some of music’s most marginalised genres.

"Get voting, get listening and get ready to discover your new favourite artists.”

SAMA 2021 winners will be announced on Saturday November 27 at Glasgow's Saint Lukes in a ceremony hosted by acclaimed poet Leyla Josephine and Scotland's new music champion Jim Gellatly.

The exclusive event will include the live return of cult noughties band Union Of Knives as well as performances from avant-trance artist and double SAMA 2020 winner TAAHLIAH and LVRA, recent winner of the Sound Of Young Scotland award.

Tickets for the event are £10, available from Eventbrite.

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