WHEN Craig Irving was introduced to traditional music at Millburn Academy in Inverness, it started him on a path that led to the winners podium at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards last night (Wednesday 22nd April).
"I was asked to play a ceilidh there and it was the first time I’d done anything like that and I thought ‘this is really, really good’," the 20-year old musician said.
"I’d never thought of doing it and just got totally hooked."
That led him to leave his home in Crown to study traditional music at Lews Castle College’s Benbecula campus and then move on to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.
There the guitarist and mandolin player joined forces with concertina player Moshen Amini and fiddler Hayley Keenan to form the band Talisk, who on Wednesday won the Young Folk Award for new talent at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in Cardiff.
"The nominations for that award re so out of sync wit each other — there was bluegrass, indie sort of stuff and us, so it was really just subjective what people like, so yes, it was a surprise," he said.
It is the second award for the trio, who played their first official show as recently as August last year.
In January they won a Danny Award following their appearance at the Danny Kyle Open Stage at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.
Talisk return to Celtic Connections next year, but their success at the Radio 2 Folk Awards has already landed them a series of bookings at high profile summer events such as Cambridge Folk Festival, Towersey Village Festival and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival, and other invitations are likely to follow.
"It’s not even been 12 hours yet, but we’ll see what happens over the next couple of days. It should be quite good," Mr Irving said.
However, Talisk’s first show in his home town is still some months off with their first appearance at Hootananny’s Ceilidh Bar scheduled for August.
Other Highland nominees at this week’s Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Ross-shire based Julie Fowlis, who co-hosted the awards with presenter Mark Radcliffe, missed out on a second chance to win the Folk Singer of the Year title when it went to England’s Nancy Kerr.
Gaelic band Cruinn, which includes Inverness couple Brian Ó hEadhra and Fiona Mackenzie, James Graham from Sutherland and Rachel Walker, who was brought up in Kinlochewe in Wester Ross, were also disappointed in the category for Best Traditional Track, losing out to Irish supergroup The Gloaming.