Celtic Connections

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year

City Halls, Glasgow

Rob Adams


MOHSEN Amini completed a notable treble on Sunday in winning the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2016 title. The twenty-two year old concertina player from Glasgow won a Danny Kyle award at Celtic Connections last year with his group Talisk, who went on to win the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk, and the resulting experience of playing major events including Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy weekend can’t have harmed his confidence.

Personality often plays a big part in the ‘Young Trad’ final and Amini has it to spare. His music here had great lift and excitement on the uptempo sets and showed sensitivity on a slow air, written by Irish harper Michael Rooney, which Amini played expressively and expansively in its initial solo interpretation before interacting well with house pianist Mhairi Hall. An imaginative choice of tunes, including accordionist Shona Kipling’s Dad’s Jig and fellow concertinist Niall Vallely’s Dog à l'Orange, allowed him to showcase musical daring and create a fair old head of steam with his accompanists.

As ever, the judges had a difficult task and each of the six finalists had their merits. Accordionist Murray Willis recovered well from early nerves to deliver a final set of reels with melodic momentum. Orcadian Jessica Burton played clarsach with assurance and a nice line in percussive variations. And the almost requisite fiddlers three, in this case Ryan Young, Robbie Greig and Hannah MacRae, presented well thought out programmes with personal tones and well-judged phrasing, the former showing particular individualism in his splendidly realised solo extemporisation of Hieland Laddie.