Talisk bring their instrumental folk frenzy to Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham
One thing you can’t accuse award-winning folk instrumentalist Mohsen Amini of is being idle.
The Guide caught up with the concertina player in a rare moment of downtime, before he headed back on the road with the fiery instrumental trio, Talisk, rounded out by Hayley Keenan on fiddle and Graeme Armstrong on guitar.
With either Talisk or Imar, the celtic quintet of which he is also a member, so far in 2019 he has played shows in the UK, Denmark, Ireland and America, Italy, Portugal, Canada, Russia and Borneo.
And after this latest UK tour is finished, Talisk make their Japanese debut as part of a ‘Celtic Christmas’ tour package.
‘It’s the busiest year we’ve had as musicians,’ says Mohsen, who was 2018 Musician of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, with a laugh. ‘These 10 days now are the most time we’ve had off all year. It’s been great, but I could do with the break...’
Given their globetrotting exploits, the Glasgow-native rather sweetly plumps for playing the Saturday night of this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival as his highlight of the year.
‘That was like a dream gig for us – closing the Saturday night. We’ve been to all of these amazing places and I feel like Japan will probably be a highlight as well. But Cambridge was one of the first gigs we ever did – never forget where you’ve come from! Playing Borneo and seeing things like the chimpanzees and stuff like that has been cool, but Cambridge was the one we’ve been waiting for for years.’
It’s been a year since Talisk released their second album, Beyond, and they’re starting to think about moving things forward with their third.
‘The first album was quite a rush – it wasn’t like it sounded rushed – but we hadn’t quite found the sound of what Talisk was going to be yet.
‘With Beyond, we had found our sound – we had been a band for four years by this point.
‘It showed we’re not just an acoustic trio anymore – we use effects and we can put on a big show.
He recalls their early shows with a chuckle: ‘We didn’t really know what to do. We were so young, we had no clue.
‘Before then it was play a couple of tunes and hope for the best, and now we have sound engineers, light engineers, and everything when we’re on tour.
‘The idea with that album was to reinvent us and re-establish us and it’s done a great job.
They debuted a new piece, Dystopia, at Cambridge, and plan to get some studio time in soon.
‘It’s continually changing – it’s more of the same but bigger and better rather than flipping to a completely different kind of music.
‘We’ve been in the studio working on different little things, and we’ve got a ridiculous number of ideas we need to change into music.
‘So we're in the process of writing, and in the next couple of weeks we’ll probably set a timetable and some dates for actual recording. It's much easier to start working on stuff where you know there's a date you have to be finished by.’
While the next few months are focused on Talisk for Mohsen, his other band Imar are on the backburner for the moment while its respective members work on their other projects.
‘That’s still going great. We did two months solid touring at the start of the year, but because I’ve got Talisk, Ryan’s got Manran, Adam’s got Rura, and then Tom and Rhodesy, on fiddle and bouzouki, they both play with a German popstar – they tour with him and play to 20,000 capacity stadiums – it’s insane, and as you can imagine there’s a fair bit of money in that.
‘It’s quite hard to bring everyone away to do Imar stuff.
‘Regardless of money, it’s just hard finding the availability – but we’ve got a UK tour next year and a few festivals already booked in, so there’s still a lot of touring. It just means I have no spare time whatsoever!’ he laughs.
The Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham
Tuesday, November 19