Soldiers invade Classical Brits
Friday 15 May 2009
An album recorded in sweltering conditions on a British air base in Basra has scooped one of classical music's top prizes at last night's Classical Brit Awards.
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards was awarded album of the year for Spirit of the Glen: Journey, beating nominees including Andrea Bocelli, The Salvation Army and Cistercian Monks.
The prize was among a strong performance for UK classical music that saw the trumpeter Alison Balsom, pictured, become the first Brit to win female artist of the year.
The seeds of the project date back to 2007, after plans to release a second album by Christmas hit a stumbling block with news of a six-month tour of duty to Basra. "When we first arrived, it was still being bombed and shelled quite regularly," said Major Angus Benson-Blair. "Then by mid-summer we noticed the security situation improving and the idea of finishing the recording out there didn't seem so ridiculous." As well as the constant threat of rocket attack, equipment had to be protected in the 50C heat.
The award will increase the popularity of pipes and drums which Maj Benson-Blair describes as an "acquired taste". But Lt-Col Felix Gedney was keen to remind the cavalry of their primary responsibilities. "It's important for them not to forget that they are not a band for me," he said. "They're my tank gunner, my lorry driver, my signals operator."
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Scottish independence referendum: Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and Frightened Rabbit to play in support of Yes campaign
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Olivia Colman and Mary Berry top Radio Times' female power list
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain