Shetland Mandolin Band

The Shetland Mandolin Band is a 30-strong community band featuring performers of all ages and abilities who come together to play a variety of tunes, ranging from classical to country.

A highlight of their year is playing at Mareel on the opening night of the Shetland Folk Festival, which was due to take place this weekend but is sadly cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.

This video was created earlier this year, prior to the festival's cancellation, and while the band may not be able to showcase the fruits of their labour and hard work this weekend, the video shows the dedication of the performers and what being part of the band means to them.

"The arrangements of the tunes are really suited for all abilities," says Ingrid Nicol, who plays in the band alongside her son James. "There's more complicated bits, say in the faster tunes, and then there's easier lines for newer players, or we might be doing harmonies. There's a bit for everybody."

It's this inclusive nature that makes being part of the band so special. With performer ages ranging from nine years old to 60 plus, and with varying skills and abilities, there's something magical about hearing the tunes come together.

"My original intention was just to help start the band up and then leave, but I can't leave, I'm enjoying it too much," says Gary Peterson, one of Shetland's most well-known and esteemed musicians.

"We just want to see folk enjoying playing," says the band's organiser, and another talented Shetland musician, Jenny Henry. "Just the fact that they come every week to practise, they've gotten everything sounding good and are as enthusiastic as I am about it, I can't thank the band without getting a lump in my throat."

While the Shetland Mandolin Band may not be able to play this year at the Shetland Folk Festival we're sure they've got plenty more great performances ahead of them and we look forward to hearing what they do next. In the meantime, keep up to date with all their news on the Shetland Mandolin Band Facebook page.