A FORMER Dunbar Grammar School pupil is celebrating after scooping a top national music award.

Iona Zawinski, who performs alongside Erez Yotam Bertrand in Pocket Monica, was thrilled after the duo were named Best Newcomer at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards.

The annual awards, which were founded in 2009, celebrate the best emerging artists from across a variety of genres.

Iona, who attended the ceremony at St Luke’s in Glasgow, was delighted to pick up the award.

She said: “Oh my goodness, it was very overwhelming.

“I went from zero to giddy, zero to extremely giddy, in a second.

“I had my pals around me, I’m good friends with The Honey Farm, we all went to school together.

“They were performing at the awards and they were all around me, screaming.

“I flung my jacket off into my boyfriend’s arms and ran up to the stage and gave a very babbly speech.”

Multi-instrumentalist Erez was unable to attend the ceremony with 30-year-old Iona, who is the lyricist and vocalist with the duo.

Instead, it was left to Iona to phone her bandmate and break the good news.

She said: “He works in a bike shop in Edinburgh.

“I had to call him after we got the award and he was on a Lothian Bus on the way home when I told him we had won the award.

“He was very happy about it!”

The success continues Dunbar’s fine recent record at the awards ceremony.

Callum Easter won Best Live Act in 2020, while Bee Asha won Best Newcomer 12 months ago.

The Honey Farm, who hail from the county town, were also performing on the night.

Now, Iona and Erez, who comes from the Middle East, have followed in their footsteps.

Iona said: “I know for myself and my year in school and the year below, which had Bee Asha, we just happened to have a lot of creative kids in our year.

“Music and drama were a really big part of our high school years.

“Dunbar Grammar School has something to do with it!

“Also, Honey Farm member Gracie Brill, her mum, Karen Dietz, she was the choirmaster of Dunbar Sings and also taught us how to play guitar and how to sing.

“She was the resident music lady in Dunbar.

“Her son, Robin Brill, does the beats for The Honey Farm – that family have a lot to do with it.”

The formation of Pocket Monica came about through chance when Erez answered an advert as Iona was looking for a new flatmate.

A mutual love of music led to them creating Pocket Monica, who supported Bombskare at the Strawberry Barn near West Barns earlier this year.

Now, following a gig in Dublin, the duo are hoping to get in the recording studio and put together their debut album.

Iona, who is also writing a play, said: “We have recorded our latest single Glow, which is out now on Spotify, and we are looking to put a plan together for a proper, full album to be released next year.”