Origin of the name

Origin of the name ‘Taliska’

Why ‘Taliska’ as a band name? Well, why not?

We searched high and low for a good Scottish name for the band. All the common ones were already taken, so we settled on a Norse name. Well, sort of…read on!

Talisker is a place in the coastal hamlet of Carbost on the Isle of Skye in Scotland famous for its single malt whisky (not whiskey). The Talisker distillery was founded in 1830 and is the only whisky distillery on Skye. Talisker whisky was described as one of three “king o’ drinks” by Robert Louis Stevenson and was declared the best single malt whisky in the world in 2007. That’s not why we chose the name, but it’s a good excuse to get yourself a bottle – if you need an excuse!

The name Talisker is derived from Scottish Gaelic talamh sgeir or talaisgeir meaning ‘land of the cliff / sloping rock’. This refers to the rocky cliff near where the original distillery was built on the edge of Loch Harport in Carbost. The name was originally derived from Norse, meaning the house of/on the rock.

Talisker were also a family linked with the MacLeods of Skye. “The Talisker family played an important role in Clan MacLeod history and recorded much of the oral history of the time in the Talisker Manuscript.”1 Talisker House, traditionally the home of the second sons of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod, is now the current site of the distillery.

One baby name website says “People with the name Talisker are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious.”

Does this reflect the band? Well, who’s to say, but just to be rebellious, we did change the name from Talisker to Taliska.

And so did J.R.R. Tolkien, as we found out later…via the font of all knowledge – Wikipedia! Tolkien’s Taliska is one of the languages of Middle-earth.

‘Taliska’ is also a word in the Somali language meaning command, as in command post or headquarters of police or security.

Pronunciation Guide

So, how do you pronounce ‘Taliska’ and where does the emphasis fall? Have a guess:

  1. TA-lis-ka
  2. ta-LIS-ka
  3. ta-lis-KA
  4. ta-lis-ka
  5. TA-LIS-KA

If you guessed #4, you’d be close to the mark, though #1 is okay too. So, as you can see, there’s really no emphasis on any of the syllables. ‘Taliska’ is pronounced similar to ‘talisman’ or ‘telescope’. If you’re still confused or can’t quite get it, here’s an audio guide to the pronunciation.