Shetland Folk Festival - Provisional Visiting Artiste Line Up Announced

by Misa Hay -

The organisers of the prestigious, world-renowned and award winning Shetland Folk Festival have just launched a brand new website and the provisional visiting artiste line up for the 33rd four-day 'spree' of brilliant folk music, sessions and sleep deprivation.

Announcing thirteen eclectic bands including musicians from as far afield as the USA, Canada and Cuba, this year's provisional line up is looking to be as internationally diverse as its predecessors.

Five incredible acts are crossing the Atlantic to put in an appearance. After 9 years, the internationally renowned Canadian fiddler, singer, songwriter and stepdancer, April Verch is returning to Shetland with her band showcasing the old-time music of Canada's Ottawa Valley mixed with ancient Appalachian ballads. From further to the North, Nova Scotia has representation in the form of Juno Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and banjo player, Old Man Luedecke as well as Coìg, who are an exciting line-up of five solo acts from Cape Breton. Whereas Old Man Luedecke transports listeners back to the era of folk troubadours like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger with his claw hammer-banjo picking and pounding foot keeping rhythm, Coìg embrace their Celtic Roots and are ambassadors for the famous Cape Breton fiddle style with both fired up contemporary and traditional arrangements.

Storied and steeped in the best of American music, North Carolina singer songwriter Woody Pines and his four piece band are expected to intoxicate audiences with their blend of rural and urban stringband, country blues, ragtime and jug band music. Completing the North American contingent is one of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and Zydeco (Louisiana French) music over the last decade, Cedric Watson. A four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist & songwriter, this is a young man with seemingly unlimited potential.

Ireland is also well represented with three exciting acts on the line-up. Niamh Ní Charra is a multiple award winner on both fiddle and concertina, who toured for 8 years as a soloist with Riverdance before embarking on extensive tours as a solo artist and with her own band as well as with the likes of The Chieftains and Carlos Núñez. From County Down, Northern Ireland, Kieran Goss is also making a return trip to Shetland – 23 years after his last Festival performance. Long hailed as one of Ireland's leading songwriters and performers, Kieran's music has won him fans across the globe. Completing the Irish contingent is The Rambling Boys of Pleasure who consist of well-known Irish musicians Bernard O'Neill, Gino Lupari, Alan Burke, David Munnelly and Sean Regan who all have a shared love of exploring their music and looking for new directions in which to take it. With such musical prestige, you can't really go wrong!

Continuing with an Irish link, the Festival is excited to invite The Long Notes who perform captivating arrangements of Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, Galician, Quebecois and old-time tunes as well as original compositions in their arrangements. Having met through the session scene of Camden Town, London, they have forged an excellent reputation over the past 6 years with appearances at numerous festivals including Celtic Connections, Glastonbury, Wimorne and Towersey.

Also making their debut Shetland appearance are Skerryvore who first formed on the tiny Scottish island of Tiree but are now set for the big time, having already performed in over 20 countries worldwide, as well as releasing four albums since 2005 and collecting an array of industry awards.

Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra are one of the hardest working bands on the UK roots music circuit and have built a sizeable fan base following numerous tours and big festival appearances. A hot six-piece, they're more eclectic than most, mixing Western Swing, Gypsy Jazz, Hokum Blues, Ragtime, Cajun, and Roots-of-Country. Also from the UK but with a distinctly American bluegrass sound is the Leon Hunt n-tet, whose album release last year plays homage to Leon's musical hero, Earl Scruggs. Leon has taken part in several notable 'transatlantic' recordings and projects that have included some of the biggest names in American traditional music but beyond proving his Bluegrass credentials, Leon has found himself in a diverse array of other musical settings.

Completing the provisional visiting artiste lineup and bringing a truly international feel to the Festival are Son Yambu. Performing red hot rhythms, straight from the streets of Santiago de Cuba, Son Yambu play authentic Cuban son, the essential Afro-Cuban sound that originated in the streets of eastern Cuba and gave rise to modern salsa. Appearing in Shetland as a five piece, the band members all have a lifetime of experience playing Latin music, both as recording artistes and in live performances around the world. Their debut CD album – “La Maravilla” - has the distinction of being the first Cuban son release ever recorded in the UK with their dynamic female lead vocalist Yuri Moreno being compared to a young Celia Cruz by their record label.

As in previous years, most visiting musicians will be in Shetland for the Festival's duration playing at different venues throughout the isles alongside fantastic local acts. The Festival will conclude with the famous 'Festival Foy' events on Sunday the 5th where most visiting musicians will play three separate 15-minute slots in three different venues! Foy tickets continue to be the fastest selling ticket of the weekend, with virtually all being consumed by advance members in 2012.

Advance Festival membership will go on sale during the month of February. For the first time, the Festival is introducing online sales and in 2013, advance memberships will be available through this route (with a view to all memberships and tickets being sold online in 2014). Advance membership will be only be open between the 1st and 28th February with purchasing information available on the Festival's website. For more information, including all the visiting acts' biographies with sound samples please visit the Festival's new website: www.shetlandfolkfestival.com. Additional announcements on local acts and one-off projects will be follow in the coming weeks.

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