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TALISK - Abyss

TALISK - Abyss
Private Label

Having had the great good fortune to introduce this band on stage, I knew exactly what to expect, but still couldn’t help being completely blown away by the sheer dexterity and musicianship of this innovative trio. The band is made up of Mohsen Amini, concertina; Craig Irving, guitar; and Hayley Keenan, fiddle. They have as guests Adam Brown, bodhrán; Rufus Huggan, cello; Graham Mackenzie, violin; and Ryan Murphy, pipes and flute.

Talisk was the winner of the Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2015, Mohsen is the current Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and Craig and Hayley come from the Conservatoire, so that might give some indication of the standards that they set. The ensemble playing cannot be faulted, with every note as clear and crisp as possible. I don’t know if there are any records for the most concertina notes played in a tune, but Mohsen must surely be a contender if there were to be. This does not mean that technical ability is at the expense of musicality – far from it. All three interact sensitively with the music and with each other in arrangements which are wonderfully fresh and compellingly listenable.

A tip of the hat also to Barry Reid for the quality of the recording and mixing which allows this degree of clarity in the overall sound. All three musicians are involved in several projects these days but if you get any chance to hear Talisk live, you should take it. You should also buy this CD to get an appreciation of one of the best directions in which our music is currently going.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.