Having wowed crowds at last year’s Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and Edinburgh Mela, Scottish-Iranian band GOL are back with their incredible fusion of traditional Persian arrangements, electronica, jazz and world music. Lead singer Roxana Vilk tells us about the artists who have influenced the group and what tradition means to her.
Tell us about your upcoming album.
We are recording our new album at the moment and are super excited about it! We’re drawing on Afro-Cuban music for inspiration, as well as being influenced by living by the sea in Scotland with all the different moods.
Which other musicians have been your main influences?
So many, it’s hard to cut it down to a few– Bheki Mseleku, Trilok Gurtu, Abdullah Ibrahim, Alice Coltrane, Amp Fiddler, Bonobo, Cassandra Wilson, Cinematic Orchestra, Da Lata, Icarus, Lamb, Nicole Conte, Niya Yesh and Prince.
What inspires you when writing music?
Anything and everything. It can be just looking out the window from the piano, watching the birds circling or the rain falling, or taking a long walk on the beach. Mostly when the four of us are in the studio, jamming around ideas, good things come to the surface.
Which bands/artists from the contemporary Trad scene, in Scotland or elsewhere, do you rate most?
Omar Sosa, Goran Bregovic, Nitin Sawney, Mohsen Namjoo, Susan Deyhim, Erik Truffaz…
Have you played TradFest before? Are there any other acts on the programme you’d recommend seeing?
No we haven't and are really looking forward to all of it! I’d particularly recommend Moishe's Bagel.
What does Tradition mean to you?
Respect for ancestors, whichever culture they come from. In the case of GOL, we are drawing on many cultures: Iranian, Scottish, Czech, French, American, and Cuban… Tradition for us doesn't have to be rooted in the past; it can be whichever musical or artistic tradition draws you in and inspires you. Tradition for us has nothing to do with where you are born and everything to do with what inspires you artistically. The fewer borders there are in our world the better. That is the beauty of music: you don't need a passport to travel inside its inspirational world.
Gol play the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Thursday 5 May. Book tickets.