Friday, May 15, 2009
Soldiers from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have won a Classical Brit Award for an album partly recorded during their tour of duty in Iraq.
They won best album for Spirit of the Glen: Journey, fending off competition from classical music stars such as Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins.
Some of the tracks were recorded in tents in Basra last year while three of the unit's squadrons were based there.
It is the first time non-professional musicians have won a Classical Brit.
The CD of pipes and drums music is also the first instrumental album to win Album of the Year.
Maj Angus Benson-Blair dedicated the award to British service personnel.
He said: "Tonight's award is obviously about the album but I know everyone in the armed forces will see also each vote as supporting us in everything we do.
"So on behalf of every single soldier, sailor and airman I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you for every vote for the pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Thank you so much."
The award is voted for by Classic FM listeners and readers of its magazine, with the nominees made up of the top ten best-selling classical albums of the past year.
Recording of the album had already begun in Edinburgh last year when the regiment was sent on a six-month tour of Iraq.
Their producers followed the musicians to their camp in Basra to complete the album, which was released last November.
It is thought to be the first album recorded in a war zone.
Their previous album, Spirit of the Glen, stayed at number one in the classical charts for eight weeks over Christmas in 2007.
The Classical Brit awards also saw trumpeter Alison Balsom become the first British woman to win best female.