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Student Ruairidh Gray in final of top trad award

A Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student is in the running for a top traditional music award.

Ruairidh Iain Gray, a fourth year student on the Traditional Music degree programme and Gaelic singer, is a finalist in this Sunday’s BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician.

Watch Ruairidh talk about the final on RCS’s Instagram

Scotland’s most talented young musicians competed in the semi-finals of this prestigious traditional music award. Twelve performed for a jury at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters, and only six were selected to go through to the final which takes place in Glasgow’s City Halls as part of the Celtic Connections festival. The final will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland.

“Even to be in the final is something that I didn’t think I was getting anywhere near,” said Ruairidh, from South Uist, the second-largest island in the Outer Hebrides.

“To be there and to perform in Gaelic, which is what I do all the time,  alongside the other five musicians has been a wonderful experience in and of itself. So we’ll just see what happens when we get there on the night!”

Ruairidh, who studies under the tutelage of Iseabail T. MacDonald, continued: “I’ve learned a phenomenal amount at RCS, not only about my own culture and my own music, but about music from across the world.

“I’ve met some of the most incredible people and musicians that I could really have ever hoped to meet, and been taught by some of the best people that Scottish culture has ever produced. And so that all together has really been a phenomenal experience and an experience which I hope continues for quite some time.”

Ruairidh studied at the Junior Conservatoire of Music before starting his his undergraduate degree. He was part of RCS’s award-winning Transitions fair access initiative that offers an industry-leading arts education programme for young people who want to excel in the performing and production arts.

Read Ruairidh’s bio on the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician website and find out more about his fellow finalists, who include RCS graduates Calum McIlroyJohn DewEvie Waddell and Ella Munro.

Watch this video of Ruairidh that celebrates and explores the challenges of studying whilst living at home on the Scottish Islands or in rural locations.