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Shetland Arts’ has announced that its annual popular Up Helly Aa day concert, Fiery Sessions, will be extended to two day time concerts this year, with a line-up of excellent traditional musicians including Gemma Donald, Eunice Henderson & The South Mainland Young Fiddlers, The North Ness Boys, and Kollifirbolli.

At Fiery Sessions, audiences are invited to start off their Up Helly Aa celebrations with from some of Shetland’s best trad musicians in Mareel. Shetland Arts’ Marketing Officer, Lisa Ward, said: “Fiery Sessions is always a very popular concert and in order to meet growing demand, we decided to offer two concerts this year, at midday and 3pm.”

Described by fellow Shetland fiddler Aly Bain as, “one of the finest players in the country”, Gemma Donald is also one of the busiest. Since winning the coveted ‘Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship’ in 2006, she has gone on to establish herself at the forefront of fiddle playing. Noted for her energetic playing style, her other roles include that of teacher, award-winning composer, session musician, pianist and adjudicator at national competitions.

Gemma Donald

Gemma Donald's album cover.

After an acclaimed performance supporting Aly Bain, Ale Moller & Bruce Molsky live at Mareel in November, Eunice Henderson & The South Mainland Fiddlers are back to entertain the audiences at Fiery Sessions with traditional tunes. Accompanied by Eunice on the piano, the members of the group range in age from 8-15 and include past winners of the Young Fiddler of the Year. All from the South Mainland and taught by Eunice, they deliver a mix of group and solo performances that demonstrate the breadth of talent and skill in Shetland’s young musicians.

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Eunice Henderson & The South Mainland Young Fiddlers. Photo by Davie Gardner.

The North Ness Boys have been performing at various venues throughout Shetland for several years. Their Dad, the late Pat Jamieson was a very well known Gospel Singer and male voice choir leader, and they deliver a flavour of the singing style and songs that have been around the Jamieson family for at least two generations. Their delivery is powerful, pure, joyous and adventurous, yet always sweetly melodic and sensitive to the mood of the piece. Whether it is Clive's lead voice setting that mood, or all three voices in close harmony, there is a unity in what they do and an unmistakeable family style.

north ness boys
North Ness Boys album cover.

‘Kollifirbolli’ is the Shetland dialect word for topsy-turvy/head over heels. As Kollifirbolli, they have played widely throughout the isles. Individually, each of the girls is an accomplished musician in her own right. Mary was Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year 2005 and Young Traditional Fiddler of the Year 2005. She often plays as a solo artist and also enjoys composing. Kaela also plays regularly as a solo artist and was Shetland’s Traditional Young Fiddler of the Year in 2007. She has taught classes in Fiddle Frenzy for a few years, and is admired for her swingy, individualistic style, and her interpretations of the old Shetland tunes. Astryd plays in the traditional style as taught to her by Violet Tulloch. She is also a keen classical pianist and has more recently taken up the concertina.

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Kollifirbolli live at Fiddle Frenzy.

Tickets cost £12 / £10 and will be available to book from Friday (6 Dec) via Shetland Box Office in Mareel & Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, or online at mareel.org & shetlandboxoffice.org. Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

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