Described as “one of the most important musicians of his generation" (ThreeWeeks), Simon Thacker is a composer, classical guitarist, improviser and ensemble leader whose ever expanding musical world draws on a deep immersion in diverse cultures.

Renowned as a classical guitar soloist, he will make his debut solo tour of India this year with his newly written programme Pashyanti. He has also developed some of today’s most prescient ensembles: Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti, a world leading Indo-Western collective which has seen him tour and collaborate at major festivals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, including for an audience of 60 000 in Dhaka and at The Sacred Pushkar, one of the region’s biggest sacred music festivals; Simon Thacker's Ritmata, his musical laboratory with three of Europe’s leading improvisers; Karmana with Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska, a new vision for chamber music; and Songs of the Roma with Justyna and Roma Gypsy singer/violinist Masha Natanson, a new Romany musical journey. All of these groups have been selected for the prestigious Made in Scotland showcase. In the studio he has taken the backwards recording technique pioneered by Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles to new heights.

Simon's startlingly original music has propelled many traditions forward and created a new frontier for classical guitar. His pieces have been played on radio in over 50 countries. As an educator, he has been classical guitar tutor at Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College for over a decade. He has performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the RSNO.

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Tàradh reveals the primal and multi-layered sound worlds of Simon Thacker’s Ritmata, the musical laboratory of one of Scotland’s most distinctive and compelling musical figures. The centrepiece of the album, Quadriga in 5, was recently nominated for the Ivors Composer Awards, the most prestigious in the UK, in the category of “Jazz composition for small ensemble”.


A year on from setting a new benchmark for Indo-Western collaboration with Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti, the uncontainable guitarist and composer draws on inspirations from Native America, medieval alchemy, Indian music and philosophy, Sephardic music, flamenco, Moroccan traditions and Ancient Roman mythology in the debut album of Simon Thacker’s Ritmata, his longest established ensemble.


Tàradh is a term from Gaelic witchcraft which describes the premonitory sound caused by an absent person’s shadow, in the place of their imagination. Simon considers the way that music suddenly appears in his mind or externally through his fingers to be his tàradh, a portent of where he wishes to and should go. He is also a conduit, as these sounds are the tàradh of the uncountable influences that feed his inspiration, heard and not yet heard.


On Tàradh Simon is joined by three of Scotland’s leading improvisers in Paul Harrison (piano), Andrew Robb (bass) and Stu Brown (drums). The hyper intricacy of Quadriga in 5 sees the ensemble hurtle through the musical cosmos with single minded ferocity. Taijasa’s ethereal timbres harness the elemental level of nature. A transformation of thirteenth century Spanish miracle song Des Oge Mais represents a meeting of mind and spirit across seven centuries. Thacker radically reimagines Sephardic song Muero Yo De Amor around the stunning vocal artistry of one of Spain’s greatest young cantaoras (flamenco singers), Ángeles Toledano, to offer a new vision of a deeply loved tradition. Having rescued this song from the obscurity of a long forgotten 1907 record, it repays the favour as a fomenter of explosive forward impetus.


The latest summation of a musical lifetime defined by unstoppable forward momentum, Simon Thacker’s Ritmata invites you and your Tàradh on a journey of musical revelation.

Episode #205

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