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SAMA- Scottish Alternative Music Awards Sat 27th November: Glasgow Music Walking Tours Blog

Our co-founder and lead guide, Fiona Shepherd is one of the award nominators for this year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA). Their 12th annual awards ceremony will be taking place at Glasgow’s Saint Lukes on Sat 27th November 2021 — after last year’s virtual awards ceremony, SAMA’s return to a bricks-and-mortar venue feels like a well-deserved victory for the nation’s music industry. The team’s most recent achievements include hosting Hip-Hop Aimed Networking With Grime (HANG), a hybrid conference at Glasgow’s SWG3 aimed at strengthening and connecting Scotland’s hip hop scene, as well as helming the Scottish showcase at Liverpool Sound City, and running a series of successful online events.

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SAMA founder Richy Muirhead says: “Right now is a great time to be celebrating our rich music culture here in Scotland and champion many artists who have been releasing music despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. With venues re-opening, restrictions easing and a huge appetite for live music from audiences, we are thrilled to be returning to a live, physical format to celebrate genres, artists and welcome the music industry and music fans to SAMA 2021 – our 12th edition of the event!”

SAMA have given awards to many major acts while in the early ascendancy of their rise, such as global superstar Lewis Capaldi and album chart-toppers The Snuts. This year’s nominees can expect to see their profile boosted, making this a rare opportunity to see future stars in an intimate setting.

One of this year’s performers is TAAHLIAH, a black, trans electronic pop artist based in Glasgow, whose futuristic avant-trance style marks her as the heir apparent to SOPHIE, 100 Gecs and Arca. As well as being the winner of two SAMA awards in 2020 – Best Newcomer and Best Electronic – the former Berlin resident has recently performed at events, such as Latitude and King Tut’s Summer Nights. TAAHLIAH explains: “Moving out of the virtual realm and performing in the live environment has never been more exciting. Everything that I dreamed of over the past year is finally coming to fruition, and it’s an incredible feeling to experience.”

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Photograph by Neelam Khan Vela

2021 SAMA ceremony also boasts the return of cult noughties noir-pop band Union Of Knives. After a fourteen-year hiatus and a change in line-up, the group are ready to return this winter with their new album Endless From The Start. While their first incarnation saw them compared to the epic stadium rock of Muse and the icy darkness of Massive Attack, their new material sees them move further towards the intensity of Nine Inch Nails and late-period Radiohead, with Ladytron’s Helen Marnie providing guest vocals.

The ceremony will also feature a performance from LVRA, an up-and-coming Edinburgh-based singer whose twisted take on r&b and pop conjures shades of Tei Shi and Billie Eilish.

To select the winners, the 21 award nominators will collate their submissions for each category, based on the SAMA music nomination criteria, as well as their knowledge and experience of the past twelve months in Scottish music. The winner will then be decided by an online public vote in November. The SAMA 2021 categories are:

Best Rock/Alternative
Best Metal
Best Live Act
Best Newcomer
Best Acoustic
Best Electronic
Best Hip Hop

Confirmed nominators include an array of vital scene figures: Triple G promoter Jonathan Almond; Club Sabbath promoter Johnny Madden; Primordial Radio DJ and Cathouse nightclub resident Ted Rock; Cultural Programme Manager at Aberdeen Performing Arts Steven Milne; Jupiter Rising’s Claire Feeney; Goddamned Promotions’ Craig Law; Sofar Sounds’ co-ordinator and performance programmer Carla Almeida; afrohouse producer and resident DJ of La Cheetah and FLY Kilimanjaro; Clubs Editor at The Skinny Nadia Younes; hip hop promoter Alana Hepburn; electronic music journalist from Ibiza Spotlight and SNACK Mag Jo Dargie; the founder of charity Intercultural Youth Scotland Khaleda Noon; hip hop platform Up2Standard manager Mobo Laji; blogger Alistair Braidwood of podcast Scots Whay Hae; cultural journalist Arusa Qureshi; Guardian contributor Katie Hawthorne; The Scotsman’s Fiona Shepherd; Music Director at Tenement TV Nadine Walker; and BBC Radio heroes Vic Galloway, Phoebe Inglis-Holmes and Shereen Cutkelvin.

Hosting duties will be shared by two figures: acclaimed poet Leyla Josephine, recently named in The List’s Top 100 Artists to watch; and radio DJ / The Scottish Sun’s new music expert Jim Gellatly, who was among the first to champion household names like Twin Atlantic and Biffy Clyro.

SAMA 2021 is funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. SAMA 2021 partners include Keychange, Musicians’ Union, BTOBeCreative, The Academy of Music & Sound, and Liverpool Sound City.

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

You can find out more information about SAMA via their website, or across social media at @officialSAMA.