Talisk at the Edinburgh International Festival

Firebrand instrumental trio Talisk perform an exclusive music session for the Edinburgh International Festival.

Talisk have stacked up several major awards for their explosive yet artful sound, including 2018’s Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Music and 2017’s Folk Band of the Year, both at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

The on-stage energy of concertina player Mohsen Amini combined with Hayley Keenan on fiddle and Graeme Armstrong on guitar creates a phenomenal evening that buzzes with energy. In a five-star review of Talisk’s second album Beyond, Songlines described the group as ‘fresh, invigorating, accomplished and playfully frisky’.

Watch the full performance for FREE as part of At Home in partnership with abrdn here: https://eif.buzz/3g3paeX

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival: The 2021 line-up

Anna Meredith
Anna Meredith

Laura Mvula, Nadine Shah, Anna Meredith, Damon Albarn, Karine Polwart, Floating Points, Kathryn Joseph, Caribou and tUnE-yArDs are just some of the highlights from the eclectic lineup of music coming to Edinburgh as part of the International Festival

by Jamie Dunn | 02 Jun 2021
Oh, how we’ve missed the electricity and communal thrill of live performance. After over a year of empty stages, we’re tremendously excited to see the festivals and venues we love revealing their plans to make the tentative steps back to something close to normality. We’re particularly excited for Edinburgh to once again overflow with art with the return of the Edinburgh International Festival this summer, which is back with a global celebration of music, theatre and dance taking place 7-29 August.

“The programme we are announcing today represents a carefully organised return to live performance,” says Fergus Linehan, EIF’s director. “It is a collaborative effort between those who live in our city, our artists, the team at the festival, our donors and stakeholders and all who will be coming along to our performances.”

The Comet is Coming by Fabrice Bourgelle
The Comet is Coming by Fabrice Bourgelle

As ever, Linehan and his team will be bringing a world-class selection of work to the Scottish capital, with 170 performances announced this morning, covering everything from classical music and opera to star-studded theatre, dance and spoken word. We’re particularly excited about the eclectic contemporary music lineup, which features an enticing blend of brilliant Scottish artists alongside international talent.

Anna Meredith, Damon Albarn

First to catch the eye are two recent Scottish Album of the Year Award-winners and Skinny favourites: Anna Meredith and Kathryn Joseph. Meredith helped open EIF back in 2018 with the stunning audiovisual piece Five Telegrams, and the composer will be back again this year to perform music from her second album, FIBS. Meanwhile, Joseph will provide beautiful ballads from her debut Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled and its follow-up, From When I Wake the Want Is.

You’ll find more uber talented female voices on the bill with the soulful Laura Mvula, who’ll be bringing her brand of 80s new wave-inspired dance-pop, and Nadine Shah, who’ll be getting the chance to perform tracks from her fourth album, Kitchen Sink, in Scotland for the first time. Widely regarded as the voice of young African womanhood, Malian actress, musician and social activist Fatoumata Diawara, we’re told, will be tackling subjects such as “the pain of emigration, the struggles of African women and life under the rule of religious fundamentalists” with her first EIF performance.

Damon Albarn will be back at EIF this year accompanied by a band and string section. Expect performances of some of the iconic songs he’s recorded as part of Blur and Gorillaz, as well as from The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, his current musical project inspired by the landscapes of Iceland, which he completed during lockdown and we’re tod explores “themes of fragility, emergence and rebirth”. And electronic music producer, DJ, and musician Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points will bring his euphoric live show to Edinburgh.

Folk, jazz, dance and trip-hop

Modern UK jazz will be well-represented at EIF this year with performances from KokorokoMoses Boyd and The Comet is Coming – the latter returning to Edinburgh with their explosive cosmic jazz rave. Scottish trad-heads, meanwhile, can look forward to Inverness-born fiddle player and composer Duncan Chisholm, Glasgow instrumental folk band RURA, instrumental trad trio Talisk, Gaelic supergroup Dàimh, all-female Scottish-English collective the Kinnaris Quintet, and Glasgow’s Breabach, who’ll be bringing their double bagpipes, Gaelic vocals and step dancing to EIF.

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Music interview: Karine Polwart on creating her Scottish Songbook event for the Edinburgh International Festival 

Karine Polwart tells Fiona Shepherd why putting together her Scottish Songbook was a joy – though she still worries about what she’s left out

There’s a lot of songs about rain.” Without wanting to give away too much about the contents of her Scottish Songbook show as part of the International Festival’s Light on the Shore season, Karine Polwart has hit upon one of the enduring themes, not just of her concert, but of Scottish pop music in general.

Why Does It Always Rain On Me, Only Happy When It Rains, Here Comes The Rain Again, Tinseltown in The Rain… each in their way speaks to certain Caledonian characteristics – melancholy, masochism, resignation, romanticism and a refusal to be ground down – as well as the not-so-subtle role that climate plays in our national psyche. Think how many band rehearsal hours would otherwise be lost to basking in the sunshine.

The distinct (or otherwise) nature of Scottish pop music is a subject addressed by the National Museum of Scotland’s summer exhibition, Rip It Up: The Story Of Scottish Pop, as well as accompanying BBC and Radio Scotland documentaries. And this year it is to be celebrated (again) by the International Festival [ . . . ]

Continue: Music interview: Karine Polwart on creating her Scottish Songbook event for the Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman