Students learning fast on music scene

Ali Turner, Neil Ewart and Mohsen Amini are set to take on their biggest gig to date: the Hebridean Celtic Festival.
Ali Turner, Neil Ewart and Mohsen Amini are set to take on their biggest gig to date: the Hebridean Celtic Festival.

AFTER just six months of performing together, Glasgow-based trio Muran have already made it to the big stage.

The winners of the Hebridean Celtic Festival’s One Step Further competition see their prize of a slot in the event’s main arena as a platform to take their music to a wider audience.

HebCelt is the ideal vehicle for a band that are steeped in the culture of Scottish and Irish music and have been playing their mix of traditional and contemporary music – “played at a racing pace” - on the Glasgow session scene.

Neil Ewart, who plays fiddle, was originally taught violin classically as a youngster until he was accepted into the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton, where he became a fiddler tutored by Iain Macfarlane of Blazing Fiddles, and Jack Evans of The Easy Club.

Guitarist Ali Turner’s interest in music was initially sparked by classes organised by Fèis Rois – a Gaelic tuition festival in Ross-shire – learning fiddle and guitar and then piping through The Highland Council’s schools music tuition.

Between September 2009 and June 2010, Ali studied on the H.N.C traditional music course, together with Gaelic, at the Benbecula campus of Lews Castle College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Mohsen Amini, who plays concertina, has played traditional music from an early age and developed his skills through Comhaltas, a worldwide organisation promoting Irish music.

While the trio, who are students at the University of Strathclyde, have only played together for a short time, they were aware of each other’s talents from the Glasgow music scene.

They say, far from affecting their university work, gigging with the band complements, in particular, the studies pursued by Ali and Neil who are taking a degree in applied music.

At present Muran are playing a mixture of pub gigs, folk clubs and small festivals in Scotland, but they have recently secured a series of concerts in Amsterdam in June.

Ali said: “We were aware of an Irish bar in Amsterdam called Mulligans who regularly have bands over to play, so we emailed them with some of Muran’s tracks and they invited us for a four night residency.”

While the trio have all played to large audiences with other bands, HebCelt will be their biggest gig to date.

“HebCelt promotes exactly the genre of music our trio falls into, so it will be great to be playing to an audience who appreciate that genre of music”, said Ali.

“We will have a few nerves, but it will be amazing to play to an audience the size of the HebCelt Festival audience. Hopefully it will lead to Muran being invited to play at more festivals and gigs both at home and internationally.”

The festival audience will also be able to buy the band’s first CD/EP which is in the final stages of recording.  Their performance at The Star Folk Club on 24 May is also being recorded. Details of other gigs at