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Shetland offers wide-ranging summer music programme


Many musical tastes are catered for in a series of excellent concerts in Mareel and other venues in Shetland this summer.

So far, the line-up from May to July includes Roddy Woomble with support from Freda Leask and Brian Nicholson,Vamm, Shooglenifty with support from Vair, Matthew Barley, the Edrom String Quartet, Peatbog Faeries, Rachel Sermanni, and Paul Brady, with more to be confirmed in the coming weeks. From 4 to 11 August, there's Fiddle Frenzy 2013.

On 13 May, Roddy Woomble will be in concert at Mareel. Familiar to many as leader of Scottish rock band Idlewild, he's also a celebrated solo songwriter & performer. On 17 May, Shetland Choral Society will present their Spring Concert and it'll feature four soloists from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in music by Haydn, Vaughan Williams and contemporary Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. The major work on the programme is Haydn's 'Maria Theresa' Mass from 1799, a large-scale setting of the Latin Mass, including four vocal soloists, and is full of exuberance, originality and classical Viennese elegance.

Also in May, Vamm will play live in Mareel on Sunday 26 and at the Fetlar Hall on Saturday 25. Formed in 2012, Shetland born Catriona Macdonald (formerly of Blazin' Fiddles), Perthshire's Patsy Reid (of Breabach), and Norwegian Marit Falt seamlessly create a dynamic yet intimate sound.

June is packed with events, beginning on Saturday 1 with Shooglenifty and support from Vair. Shooglenifty play an infectious blend of Celtic traditional music and dance grooves that they describe as "hypno-folkadelic ambient trad." Vair have already gained a shining reputation for their unique take on the folk sound and are sure to start the night in style.

Just a few days later, on Tuesday 4 June, world-renowned cellist Matthew Barley will play a concert in Mareel as part of his Around Britten national tour, celebrating 100 years of Benjamin Britten. The programme will include Britten's powerful third cello suite, a suite by J.S. Bach, solo cello music by Tavener and specially commissioned new works by Dai Fujikura, James MacMillion, and DJ Jan Bang. Strings have another outing on Wednesday 12 June, in the shape of the Edrom String Quartet, consisting of Lucy and Maeve Auer, Ferdinand Erblich and Shetland resident Donald MacDonald. They first met over 40 years ago through studies in Vienna and Austria and were coaches at the International Cello Centre (now known as the Edrom Casals Centre).

On Saturday 15 June, the Peatbog Faeries appear at Mareel. A Celtic fusion band featuring Shetland's own Ross Couper on fiddle, their music embodies many styles and influences, including folk, electronica, rock, and jazz. They have twice won Live Band of the Year" at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards, and were nominated for "Live Band of the Year" in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

21 year old singer singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni, from Carrbridge near Inverness, will play Mareel on Wednesday 26 June. Rachel has impressed audiences across the UK, Europe, India and the USA over the past year, playing in excess of 150 shows. On her only previous visit to Shetland, Rachel provided the support slot for Mumford and Sons and audiences have been pleading for a solo show.

In July. Paul Brady will be live in Mareel on Friday 12 & Saturday 13. He's one of Ireland's most highly regarded artists, incorporating folk, rock, blues, traditional Irish, and classic pop styles into his song writing. His songs have been covered by an array of major artists including Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Cher, Joe Cocker and Carlos Santana.

Early August sees the Fiddle Frenzy and the programme is a cracker, with appearances from some of the most celebrated exponents of the instrument. Shetland's Aly Bain will be there with Phil Cunningham, an enduring and unmissable combination that always involves impeccable playing and good humour. Bryan Gear and Violet Tulloch are an outstanding fiddle and piano duo and we'll also be hearing the wonderful sound of Lau. The event is curated by outstanding young fiddlers Jenna and Bethany Reid.

Tickets for these events can all be purchased now from the Shetland Box Office, by phone on 01595 745555 or online at

Meanwhile, the first album to be wholly recorded, produced, mixed & mastered in Mareel, Renegades by The Revellers, has been launched at this year's Shetland Folk Festival. The band have been working hard with the staff at Shetland Arts since before Christmas to record the 10 track album, with at least one song written by each member of the 7 piece band.

The fact that music is in such a healthy state in Shetland was also underlined, during April, when the Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year was named as 15 year old Callum Watt, who comes from the village of Walls in the west mainland of Shetland. More than 100 young musicians had competed in the two-day event, which is organised by the Shetland Folk Society.

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