Steve Byrne: Tranent folk musician named new director of TRACS
A TRANENT musician is delighted to have been appointed as the new director of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland).
Steve Byrne is taking over the role at the organisation, which advocates for the traditional arts and their inclusivity and accessibility, from David Francis and Donald Smith, who have been in the position for 10 years.
Steve, who moved to Tranent from Arbroath in 2013 with his wife Ines, said of the role: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed to lead an organisation that I consider to be key to the future of traditional arts in Scotland.
“I am looking forward to working with the TRACS team and communities across the country in celebrating our local cultures in all their vibrant forms, hybrids and languages, and sharing Scotland’s living traditions with the world.”
Steve was a founding member of Scottish folk band Malinky, which he helped form in 1998.
The band have performed all over the world, particularly across Europe, and Steve said that he hoped to release more music soon.
He said: “We’ve not done anything recently because, with lockdown and stuff, there were fewer opportunities.
“But we’ve got some ideas for new music so we’ll see what happens.
“I think I’ll take some time to get my feet under the desk in my new role first, though.”
Steve told the Courier that he had always felt a special connection to the east of Scotland and to East Lothian.
He said: “I’ve always been an east coast boy, growing up in Arbroath, and I always liked East Lothian as a place.
“I did some recordings in Pencaitland so I had visited East Lothian quite a bit over the years, which is part of what brought us here.”
While in Tranent, Steve has worked on several local projects, including the A Place of Great Importance (APOGI) project, which helped to develop the green space between Muirpark Road and Steading View.
Steve said: “The project was there to capture local stories and share them with people, and I was involved in helping to gather those stories.
“It was great to be involved in that.
“I was also involved with the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) in Tranent.
“The project looked at renovating parts of High Street and buildings in the town.
“I went along to a few of the open meetings of the group and we then went out and did some recordings of some local folk speaking about shops on High Street and their experiences in Tranent and the local area.
“Those recordings helped the scheme understand people’s experiences and built an oral archive.”
TRACS is based on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, with which it works in close partnership on major ventures such as the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.
Andrew Bachell, chairman of TRACS, said: “In Steve Byrne, TRACS has found a new director who reflects the spread and depth of talent in Scotland’s traditional arts.
“His appointment is a confident step towards the tough challenges that cultural organisations face over the next two years.”
East Lothian Courier