Shetland Arts has announced the concert line ups for its annual fiddle festival, Fiddle Frenzy, running this year from 3 – 10 August. They include: Jenna & Bethany Reid (also curators of the festival), NE3 Folk, Kevin Henderson & Mattias Perez, Hom Bru, Blyde Lasses, RANT, Ross Couper & Tom Oakes, Maggie Adamson & Brian Nicholson, Catriona MacDonald & Dave Milligan, Alan Nicholson & Peter Wood.
Fiddle tutors for this year are confirmed as Kevin Henderson, Ross Couper, Jenny Keldie, Lois Nicol, Eunice Henderson, Claire White, Jenna Reid, Bethany Reid, and Maggie Adamson. A class in guitar accompaniment will be led by tutors Brian Nicholson and Brian Cromarty. Creative Fringe classes, offering a variety of art workshops will again by curated by local artist Amy Fisher. And again this year, sightseeing tours will be run by Unseen Shetland.
Shetland Arts Marketing Officer, Lisa Ward said: “Fiddle Frenzy student packages, which went on sale at the start of February, are already flying off the shelves with more interest than ever this year, and we expect there’ll also be a lot of interest in the Day Frenzy packages, tours, and concerts when they go on sale on this Monday (3 March), so we’re recommending that people book early to avoid disappointment.”
Jenna & Bethany ReidThe festival will open on Sunday 3 August with a concert at Mareel from Jenna & Bethany Reid, the festival curators, and NE3 Folk. Jenna & Bethany will be joined by musicians James Thomson on flute and pipes and percussionist Iain Sandilands, with a performance that will showcase new arrangements of Shetland and Scottish tunes fresh for Fiddle Frenzy. NE3 Folk are a Newcastle based trio, made up of two Shetlanders - Cathy Geldard (fiddle) and Victoria Laurenson (accordion) joined by Chris Meredith (guitar). They’ve spent a busy first 3 years together, touring Norway twice, and working on their debut album Show us Your Reds. With beautiful arrangements and driving rhythms, a dynamic performance is guaranteed.
Jenna said: “We’re both really excited to return to Fiddle Frenzy. It was fantastic to work with Shetland Arts to present the festival in 2013, and it’s great to welcome so many great musicians and tutors to join us this year.”
Kevin Henderson & Mattias PerezMonday 4 August will see another concert in Mareel headlined by Kevin Henderson & Mattias Perez with support from Hom Bru. One of Shetland’s best known and well respected fiddlers, Kevin is a founding member of Shetland band Fiddler’s Bid who in 2011 released his solo album Fin Da Laand Ageen to great critical acclaim. The album featured Mattias on guitar and mandola. Such was the response to the album, and their take on presenting Shetland’s music that they now tour together as a duo. Hom Bru has been playing together since 1978 and are a staple of the Shetland traditional music scene. Featuring banjo maestro Gary Peterson, Brian Nicholson (guitar) and John Robert Deyell (fiddle) they are a must-see band on the Shetland scene.
Blyde LassesThe Tuesday night concert is in Vidlin Hall and stars Blyde Lasses followed by a traditional dance with Alan Nicholson. Claire White (fiddle) and Frances Wilkins (concertina) have been playing together as Blyde Lasses since 2006. In April 2013, they released their debut album of traditional, contemporary, and self-penned Shetland songs and tunes. Claire was taught by the late Tom Anderson. Frances lived in Shetland during the 1990s and taught herself Shetland melodies on the concertina.
Ross Couper & Tom OakesOn Wednesday 6 August RANT and Ross Couper & Tom Oakes will take to the stage in Mareel. RANT includes the curators of Fiddle Frenzy, Jenna & Bethany Reid, plus Sarah-Jane Summers and Lauren MacColl, another two of Scotland’s finest fiddle players. Using just their fiddles, they weave a tapestry of melodies, textures, layers, and sounds. Well known Shetland fiddler Ross Couper and Tom Oakes are a fiddle and guitar duo deeply rooted in the traditions of Scotland and Ireland but with a vital modernity that chronicles their many musical journeys so far. Expect a highly dynamic mixture of power and fragility.
Maggie & BrianMaggie Adamson & Brian Nicholson will headline the Friday night concert at Carnegie Hall in Sandwick, followed by a dance with Peter Wood. Maggie Adamson grew up in Shetland and is currently building a fast growing reputation as one of the best known names in Shetland fiddle. Maggie has performed extensively with her duo partner Brian. Known for her skill in a range of styles, Maggie’s playing ranges from classical, to jazz, to traditional. Brian displays equal diversity and skill on guitar, making them a perfectly matched musical duo.
Catriona MacDonaldThe final concert on Saturday 9 August will feature Catriona MacDonald joined by Dave Milligan. Growing up in Shetland, and taught by Dr Tom Anderson, Catriona has gone on to establish herself as one of the leading lights of the Shetland traditional, and is considered to be one of the world’s leading traditional players. In 1992 she won the BBC Radio Two Young Traditional Award, and she is also a previous and founding member of Blazin’ Fiddles and the female fiddle band, String Sisters.
Week packages for Fiddle Frenzy are on sale now, and tickets for individual concerts, day packages, and tours go on sale on Monday 3 March. Booking is via Shetland Box Office in Mareel & Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, or online at shetlandboxoffice.org or mareel.org. More info can be found at shetlandarts.org/fiddlefrenzy.