Prestigious award for Nora
The ‘Hands Up for Trad’ organisation has announced that Linlithgow’s Nora Devine will be inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame at the 2020 Scots Trad Music Awards in Dundee on December 5.
She will be included in the ‘Services to Community’ section, where the nominees are all individuals who have worked tirelessly to help their community and enrich the lives of others through selfless service or charitable work.
From the mid-1960s, Nora ran the Linlithgow Folk Club, which started at the ‘Football and Cricketers’ Arms’ and welcomed some of the biggest names in traditional music at that time. The club was also credited with giving an early performing opportunity to young musicians and singers who went on to greater things.
Included among these were people like Aly Bain, Barbara Dickson and the McCalmans.
Nora acted as an adviser to the steering group which set up the Linlithgow Folk Festival, but sadly passed away just two weeks before the first event in September 1999. A memorial concert, featuring many of Nora’s musical friends and associates, took place in 2000 and among those taking part was the acclaimed singer and songwriter, Ian Walker. Ian was closely involved with Linlithgow Folk Club in the early part of his career and knew Nora well. He was delighted to hear about the Hall of Fame announcement, saying: “Nora Devine was the warm hearted, unassuming host at Linlithgow Folk Club. In fact, Nora was Linlithgow Folk Club and Linlithgow Folk Club was Nora.
“In contrast to many other clubs, there was no committee or panel to decide which acts to book or which “policies” to have - there was just Nora.
“I was involved from around 1982 to 1995 when the Club was in The Star & Garter and The Black Bitch.
“Nora was always located by the door and would welcome people with a genuine smile and an affectionate twinkle in her eye. She had a profound love of folk music in all its forms from traditional to contemporary and she always seemed genuinely pleased to have this love shared by all who attended.”
Nora liked to encourage members to help in the running of the folk club. The ethos she engendered meant that no one grandstanded or stepped over marks as everyone recognised that Nora, in her typically benevolent way, was ultimately the first word and the last. “No airs or graces here, what you get is what you see,” was a commonly-heard phrase from the club matriarch.
The club ran weekly throughout the year normally with a guest act. The frequently packed nights generated an entertaining and sociable buzz with, back in the day, a fairly smoke-laden atmosphere!
Singers and musicians from all over the world sang at the club and usually Nora would provide overnight accommodation for them before they headed off next morning over the horizon to another venue. Nora’s renowned hospitality was indeed a “home from home” for these troubadours.
For Nora to have been inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame is recognition of her hard work. The Award is given to individuals that work tirelessly to help their community and enrich the lives of others through selfless or charitable work.