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03 May 2012
Muran win HebCelt new talent contest

News Release
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Creative Scotland 2012

03 May 2012

A group formed by university friends are graduating to playing to an international audience at a major summer festival after winning a competition to find new talent.

Muran were the unanimous choice of judges overseeing the One Step Further contest for the Hebridean Celtic Festival which will be held from 11-14 July and will be headlined by The Waterboys, The Proclaimers and Kassidy.

The Glasgow-based three-piece – made up of Ali Turner, 19, on guitar, Neil Ewart, 23, on fiddle and Mohsen Amini, 18, on concertina – were chosen from 15 acts who entered the inaugural competition.

As part of the prize the band will now perform live on 13 July in front of the festival audience on the second stage within the main HebCelt arena.

They will also receive £200 towards expenses to attend the festival as well as passes to enjoy the rest of the event.

Ali said: “We decided to enter the competition as it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. We are delighted to win and it gives us a great opportunity to showcase the band, to entertain the festival audience and to enjoy a great experience.

“At present Muran are playing a mixture of pub gigs, folk clubs and small festivals so the chance to play on a main festival stage was a big incentive.”

Muran takes its name from the Gaelic word for marram grass that grows on the Atlantic beaches in the Outer Hebrides. Its members are all multi-instrumentalists who play a mix of traditional and contemporary tunes and are active on the Glasgow session scene.

All three are also still studying at The University of Strathclyde. Neil, originally from Ardnamurchan, is a fourth-year student on the BA Applied Music Degree Course. Ali, from Alness, is a second year student on the same course and Mohsen, from Glasgow, is in his first year studying chemical engineering.

The 17th HebCelt attracts visitors from around the world and already fans from across Europe, the USA and Canada have snapped up early bird tickets.

The One Step Further competition was open to any young band or performer, aged between 18 and 25 at the time of the festival, playing a genre of music that reflects the general programming of the event.

Entrants had to prepare a promotional pack in electronic format to sell their music to the judges. It included links to three good quality recordings of their music and to live performances.

The competition was supported by internationally renowned musician Phil Cunningham, well known as a champion of young talent.

Alex Macdonald, programme officer at An Lanntair arts centre and one of the judges, said: “The standard of entries was very high but Muran stood out for me.

“They sound very tight as a band and I’m sure the HebCelt audience will enjoy hearing them play live.”

Festival Director Caroline MacLennan added: “Congratulations to Muran for winning the competition against some very stiff opposition. We were very pleased with the response to 'One Step Further' and would like to thank all who entered and to the judging panel for choosing a great addition to our line-up.”

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