Album of the year for Battlefield-born band

A BAND with long-standing southside roots has picked up its third MG Alba Scots Trad Music award, for album of the year.
Ewen Henderson and Mike Katz collect the award. Photo by Andy Buchanan.Ewen Henderson and Mike Katz collect the award. Photo by Andy Buchanan.
Ewen Henderson and Mike Katz collect the award. Photo by Andy Buchanan.

Battlefield Band came away from the ceremony at Aberdeen Music Hall recently with the prize, for album Room Enough For All, as chosen by a public vote of almost 90,000 people.

The foursome are an international affair these days, but the name has stuck for 45 years, since a group of southsiders ditched rock and roll covers for traditional music.

Manager Robin Morton told The Extra: “It’s been 45 years of a changing line-up, and there are none of the original members left.

“I’m the oldest Battlefield Bander. I played with the Boys of the Lough, and the Battlefield Band opened for us — I liked their attitude. They asked me to manage them and I’ve been with them since 1981 now.

“We won best live band the first year the awards came out, and then we won best live band again in 2011. Now it’s best album — we’ll go for best new band next, but I doubt they’ll give us that one.”

Proving the group’s international credentials is piper Mike Katz, who arrived in Edinburgh from native Los Angeles in 1987.

Mike said: “I’d played the bagpipes since I was 10 — but most pipers of my vintage didn’t see bagpipe music as anything other than its own thing, along with wearing a kilt and playing in competitions.

“But that’s what we try to do, open up all the different kinds of traditional music so they’re not cloistered in their own corners.

“Jazz bands, country dancing, pipe bands — they’re all part of the national culture.”

And, when all else fails, there’s always bribery .

Robin explained: “The lads put on Facebook that they’d kidnapped a wee Scottie dog, and that the dog was getting whacked unless they voted.

“When we won, they said to fans; you’ve done well, and done your part to free that poor dog.”

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