Greentrax Recordings Limited are the first recipients of Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight Award. The “Limelight’s” are a monthly initiative (launched in October 2012) that recognises the outstanding contributions made by businesses and organisations who contribute, shape and influence the arts and cultural sector in Scotland today. Greentrax are one of Scotland’s longest running record companies and have a reputation for being very fair and honest and continue to regularly release CDs that promote Scottish music.
We asked Ian Green, Managing Director of Greentrax the following questions.
We specialise in traditional, contemporary and Gaelic music from Scotland and beyond. We have recorded leading artists in this genre of music but we also record debut albums of the very talented emerging young musicians and singers from Scotland. Our labels are Greentrax, G2, Celtic Collections and Culburnie. We release physical CDs but our albums and tracks are also available as downloads on the major download sites, including I-Tunes. Our Grian Music takes care of new works by songwriters and tunesmiths.
When and where did the company first start trading?
When I retired from the Lothian and Borders Police in 1985 I was already running Discount Folk Records, a mail order and folk festival stall service. In 1986 I launched Greentrax Recordings and Grian Music (publishing) believing that there was an abundance of very talented musicians and singers who were being ignored by the major record labels. My intention was only to record a couple of albums per year but Greentrax quickly expanded and releases became fast and furious as top artists joined the company.
What made you want to work in Scottish culture?
My father was a Highland bagpipe player and I lived at that time in rural Morayshire where traditional music was all around us. I drifted away from the music as a teenager but returned to it in the late 1950’s and was ‘hooked’ for good. I gradually became obsessional about the music, or so my friends and family say. I first became the organiser of The Police Folk Club (‘Fuzzfolk’), was a concert organiser, an assistant to John Barrow, the Director of the Edinburgh Folk Festival, co-editor of Sandy Bell’s Broadsheet and more. I believe that Scottish music and song are key elements of our culture and I believe that much of the music presented as ‘Scottish’ for so many years was ‘music hall’ and mostly tainted by the ‘Brigadoon’ image. I felt a need to redress the balance and worked tirelessly to that end.
Can you tell us of any particular company highlights?
The McCalmans signing immediately to the fledgling label and recorded for us the iconic ‘Peace and Plenty’ album; being invited by STV to release an album from the hugely successful ‘Aly Bain and Friends’ TV series; taking on The Scottish Tradition Series on behalf of The School of Scottish Studies; The Gaelic Women project; signing such stalwarts as Jean Redpath, Eric Bogle, Archie Fisher, Dick Gaughan and the wonderful Cathy-Ann MacPhee, who recorded her first album for Greentrax and went on to record more. Releasing albums of ‘cutting-edge’ bands such as Shooglenifty, Peatbog Faeries, Ceolbeg, Burach, Deaf Shepherd and others. Myself and Greentrax being recognised by the Scots Trad Awards and presented with ‘The Hamish Henderson Award’ and then receiving on Honorary Doctorate from the RSAMD.
What are your company plans for the future?
To continue to release albums of our wonderful Scottish traditional music and song and to release it on physical CDs and make it available as downloads on such international sites as I-Tunes, or on some other format yet to be identified. Few countries in the world have such a rich musical culture as Scotland and it must be presented to our nation and the international community.
How will you celebrate receiving Hands Up For Trad’s Business Limelight Award?
The award will be posted on our Website; we will send a Press Notice to our database of media people, distributors, retailers etc. and will include it on our next Newsletter mailed put widely to our mail order list etc. The award will also be exhibited on our office wall. It will also be received with pride.
Greentrax Recordings Ltd
Cockenzie Business Centre