Piper Brìghde Chaimbeul wins BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

A PIPER from Edinburgh's most prestigious music school has won this year's BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.
Edinburgh piper Brighe Chaimbeul. Picture: suppliedEdinburgh piper Brighe Chaimbeul. Picture: supplied
Edinburgh piper Brighe Chaimbeul. Picture: supplied

Brìghde Chaimbeul, a sixth-year pupil at St Mary’s Music School, went head-to-head with three other finalists at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where she produced an outstanding live performance before being crowned the winner.

The 17-year-old is one of five musically gifted siblings from Skye who attend – or have previously attended – the only independent specialist music school in the city.

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Brìghde said: “I’m absolutely delighted and really grateful for all the support and kind words I have received.

“It has been a mad few days, it hasn’t really sunk in”.

She added: “As a result of winning the competition I will be playing at three festivals this summer which I’m really looking forward to – Cambridge, Corpredy and Towersey.

“After that, we’ll see. I’m very excited.”

The BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award semi-finals took place in Kendal, in Cumbria, where ten young musicians aged 16-21 competed, either as individuals or in groups.

Brìghde, who studies piping and piano, played her Hamish Moore Smallpipes and secured a place in the final.

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Three other recent pupils from St Mary’s – Padruig Morrison, Pete Thornton and David Swan – known as the Causeway Trio, also reached the final, but narrowly missed out on the top prize.

Brighde’s younger brother, Eosaph, 13, and sister Ciorstaidh-Sarah, 15, are also keen traditional musicians and regularly join Brighde in the school’s Traditional Group.

Their older sisters are 22-year-old Màiri, now in her final year studying jazz, world music and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and 21-year-old Steaphanaidh, who is studying harp at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Màiri was given the Berklee College of Music American Roots Music Award in 2015 and has performed at concerts across the USA.

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Màiri and Steaphanaidh were also finalists twice in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards.

Dr Kenneth Taylor, headteacher at St Mary’s Music School, said: “Brìghde is a highly talented piper as well as an accomplished pianist.

“We know how hard she has worked to achieve these standards and everyone at St Mary’s Music School is delighted with her thoroughly well-deserved success in this prestigious competition.”

The Chaimbeul family are all Gaelic speakers brought up in Sleat on Skye, but for the past few years they have been living in Kyle of Lochalsh.

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The Young Folk Awards ceremony was presented by Radio 2’s Simon Mayo and top folk musician Kathyrn Tickell.

In the past, the award has launched the careers of some of the UK’s leading folk artists, including Bella Hardy, Jim Moray and Lauren MacColl.

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