EIGHT of Scotland’s finest young folk musicians are about to embark on a tour of their home towns and record an album together thanks to the TMSA (Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland).
The finalists and winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Competition (2016) will start the tour in Helensburgh on Tuesday 30 May before visiting The Isle of Lismore, Fort William, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Orkney.
They will be hard at work in the studio in June with an album due for release in July.
Winner, Mohsen Amini, is raring to go. He said: “This is going to be a very busy but exciting summer. Winning the Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award last year was awesome but now the fun really starts as I get to visit some amazing places, including my home town of Glasgow, with a great bunch of musicians.
“We’ve rehearsed a load of tunes already and are really looking forward to nailing down some amazing tracks for the album.”
TMSA convener, Fiona Campbell, said: “The annual TMSA Young Trad Tour and album is always a great opportunity to showcase the rising starts of Scotland’s traditional music scene.
“The project allows young musicians, often at the start of their music careers, to hone both their solo and collaborative skills at some amazing venues across the country.
“Plus, the experience of making an album in a world class recording studio supported by experienced professionals is often another huge asset to their musical CVs.”
Essential to the success of the project is musical director, Anna Massie, one of Scotland’s foremost guitarists, well known for her work with the likes of Blazin’ Fiddles.
Anna was a former winner of the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award back in 2003 and toured with the TMSA last year as an accompanist.
She said: “Taking over from Corrina Hewat as musical director for the TMSA leaves some ‘very big shoes’ to be filled but I am very excited about helping this crop of finalists not only develop their individual skills but to sound really special as a group.”
Sarah Mcadam, Creative Learning officer at Creative Scotland, added: “The TMSA Young Trad Tour is a great opportunity to celebrate the exciting young talent emerging from Scotland’s traditional music sector and as a launchpad for young musicians at the beginning of their careers.
“The depth of talent within the line-up of the 2016 Finalist tour is a testament to this, with 2016 Young Traditional Musician of the Year winner, Mohsen Amini, having since been nominated for ‘Musician of the Year’ at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
“We’re looking forward to following the tour and the paths that the finalists take in their future careers.”
The tour kicks off on Tuesday 30 May at The Tower in Helensburgh then visits The Isle of Lismore, Fort William, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, finally Stromness, Orkney.
The full line-up is as follows; Mohsen Amini (concertina and 2016 winner) Claire Hastings (voice and 2015 winner, Hannah MacRae (fiddle), Jessica Burton (clarsach), Ryan Young (fiddle), Murray Willis (accordion), Robbie Greig (fiddle) and accompanist, Jean Damei.
Mohsen Amini – concertina (Glasgow) – 2016 winner Mohsen Amini from Glasgow, Scotland is a fast-growing name in the traditional world. Boasted by The Herald as a “virtuoso”, he’s creating quite a reputation as a concertina player in Scotland.
He co-founded multi-award winning trio, Talisk, who after only two months of formation won a Danny Kyle award at Celtic Connections and shortly after won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award.
Their debut album, Abyss, was shortlisted at the 2016 MG Alba Trad Awards as ‘Album of the Year‘, the same awards where they had previously been nominated for ‘Up and Coming Artists the Year’. Their continued success saw them receive a nomination for the ‘Horizon award’ at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Mohsen also founded acclaimed supergroup, Ímar, at the start of 2016.
They, in the space of one year managed to go viral and stack an impressive 11,000 likes on Facebook, an unheard-of feat in the traditional music world, which provided a great platform to launch their debut album Afterlight in 2017 which managed to achieve no less that a five-star review on its launch gig at Celtic Connections.
Most recently, Mohsen was nominated as ‘Musician of the year’ at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, making him the first ever musician to be nominated for this, ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the MG Alba Trad Awards and win the ‘Young Traditional Musician of the Year’. www.mohsenamini.com
Claire Hastings – voice (Dumfries) – 2015 winner Claire Hastings is a Scottish folksinger, songwriter and ukulele player originally from Dumfries.
Since winning BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2015, Claire has had many standout performances including a performance at BBC Proms in the Park with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, singing alongside Lulu, Jamie Cullum and Deacon Blue for BBC Music Day, performing in A Man’s a Man at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and singing for First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at London’s National Theatre.
She has also featured on numerous radio programmes and on television, and has toured extensively.
Claire performs as a solo artist, with The Claire Hastings Band and in Top Floor Taivers, who released their debut album, A Delicate Game, this year.
She released her debut solo album, Between River and Railway, in 2016, which was described as “one of the best Scottish releases this year (2016) in any musical genre”, by the head of music at Creative Scotland. www.clairehastings.com
Hannah MacRae – fiddle (Lochaber) As a west coast fiddle player, traditional music has been in Hannah’s family for generations.
Hannah has taken time to establish her own personal style and varies her repertoire by playing with accomplished musicians from different places and backgrounds.
Hannah is a strong believer in keeping up tradition – in particular, the culture of traditional music and Gaelic – and has been teaching fiddle for the past year.
She is currently studying for a BMus in Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Jessica Burton – clarsach (Orkney) Born and raised in Orkney, Jessica was immersed in traditional music from a young age.
She began playing the clarsach at 11 and soon joined school fiddle group, Hadhirgaan, led by Douglas Montgomery.
Jessica graduated with a degree in Scottish music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2012 where she studied with Wendy Stewart and Hannah Phillips.
Jessica has released an EP, Mira with fellow harpist Sarah MacNeil featuring original compositions and contemporary arrangements for clarsach and electro-harp.
Jessica currently holds a teaching post at both the Glasgow Academy and the Junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Jessica loves writing tunes and in 2015 was awarded the Clarsach Society Young Composer Award with her piece, Shorelines.
Ryan Young – fiddle (Cardross) Ryan Young from Cardross graduated with an MMus in Scottish Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2016, having previously graduated with a BA first-class honours.
As well as being a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician, in both 2015 and 2016, he was twice a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards.
In September 2016, Ryan began recording his debut album with Jesse Lewis, a three-time Grammy winning producer and the album will be released in 2017.
A musical highlight was getting to perform with Dennis Cahill, one of his biggest inspirations, at Feakle festival in Ireland 2015. www.ryanyoung.scot
Murray Willis – accordion (Lismore) Murray comes from the Isle of Lismore in Loch Linnhe, Argyll.
He speaks Gaelic, has a qualification in blacksmithing and works with a welding company. Murray studied music at Benbecula College in Uist under Anna-Wendy Stevenson which he says was an ‘eye-opener’ and his lessons and time spent with the brilliant tutors there greatly influenced and encouraged him.
Murray is also learning the piano, alto saxophone and French.
Robbie Greig – fiddle (Edinburgh) Robbie Greig is an accomplished fiddle player who has featured on various recordings and has toured across Scotland and Europe.
Robbie started learning classical violin aged five and soon progressed to learning traditional fiddle with Gregor Borland, whilst also attending Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’ and Fèis Rois.
After moving to Uist aged 16 to pursue his studies in traditional music, Robbie received tuition from renowned tutor, Anna-Wendy Stevenson.
There, he joined the band ‘Room 5’ with whom he performed at the Royal Albert Hall. Recently, he has also toured with The Paul McKenna Band and Malinky.
The group will be joined by accompanist, Jean Damei.
Jean Damei – guitar
Jean grew up in the South-east of France, near the city of Grenoble.
He started learning Irish traditional music after meeting a group of Irish musicians teaching and touring in the Alps.
After discovering his passion for this music, Jean left Ardèche, his childhood home, to study flute and guitar at the Irish World Academy of the University of Limerick in Ireland.
He spent six years there, completing the Irish Music and Dance BA and Irish Traditional Music Performance MA. Jean is now living in Glasgow, where he can be seen performing with the bands, ‘Fourth Moon’ and ‘Event Horizon’, as well as teaching at the Online Academy of Irish Music.
Audiences will be treated to a mix of new material written and composed by these outstanding young musicians as well as innovative arrangements of traditional tunes.
The album will be recorded and mastered at the renowned Castlesound Studios, Pencaitland, East Lothian.
Tour dates and locations
- Tuesday 30 May, The Tower, Helensburgh www.thetoweronline.com
- Tuesday 6 June, Lismore Public Hall, Isle of Lismore, Argyll
- Wednesday 7 June, The Nevis Centre, Fort William www.neviscentre.co.uk
- Thursday 15 June, Summerhall, Edinburgh www. summerhall.co.uk
- Wednesday 19 July, Drygate Brewery, Glasgow www.drygate.com
- Monday 31 July, Stromness Town Hall, Orkney. Tickets via www.tmsa.org.uk
The TMSA Young Trad Tour 2016 CD will be released in July 2017.
The TMSA Young Trad Tour – including both the CD and tour itself – has been made possible through funding support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
For further information on the tour, or for accompanying images, please contact the TMSA Young Trad Tour’s project manager, Emma Jackson, on 07815 833 591, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes for editors:
- The Traditional Music & Song Association (TMSA) of Scotland, set up in 1966, is a membership organisation whose core aim is to foster and promote Scotland’s unique musical traditions. Members include music enthusiasts, amateur and professional performers, tutors, and academics. The TMSA encourages both widespread popular participation and individual artistic excellence. Its branches provide opportunities for universal participation by running festivals, ceilidhs, concerts, workshops and competitions. The branches sustain the specific cultural traditions of their area, as well as those of Scotland generally as grassroots participation in traditional music and song involving all parts of the traditional community is fundamental to the continued authentic voice of professional performers and to the very cultural identity of Scotland itself. The TMSA also creates an annual hard copy traditional music Event Calendar supported by website listings and ran a Programme of Sessions for Homecoming Scotland 2014. The TMSA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 working with Collins to re-publish Norman Buchan’s ‘101 Scottish Songs’ (or ‘The Wee Red Book’), collaborating on the Opening Concert of Celtic Connections, a ‘Back to Blairgowrie’ Concert in August and a number of local Branch events. More details at tmsa.org.uk
- £34,460 was awarded in December 2016 from The National Lottery, through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund. The remaining funds required to operate the tour are being generated through ticket sales and CD sales.
- Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit creativescotland.com. Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.
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