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The first Singers and Songwriters night in Mareel will take place this Sunday, 16th December, in the Café Bar at 7pm. Previously these events took place in Islesburgh Community Centre and were very popular with music fans from across the Isles. The night will start with performances by duo Lisa Johnson and Natalie Moffat, followed by the floor being opened up to interested performers for an open mic session, and the evening will close with a set from Brian Nicholson.

Sheila Henderson (local singer/songwriter) was involved in getting these monthly Singers and Songwriter nights established and said “we took a break over the summer period, and it has taken a little while to get back underway, but we hope we’ll now have Singers and Songwriters nights on a monthly basis. Islesburgh provided with us with an excellent space to get started, but Mareel seems the logical place to be. The Café/Bar provides an intimate setting for new and more established singers & songwriters to perform and it will be an excellent way to round off the weekend.”

Sheila Henderson

Lisa Johnson and Natalie Moffat have seen the benefit these Singers and Songwriters nights can bring. Both, very nervously, attended some of the events last winter and used the Open Mic sessions as a means of building their confidence in performing in front of an audience. They also established contacts through the Singers and Songwriters night with other musicians, including Jordan Ogg, who accompanied them when they took part in Shetland’s Got Talent last May. They narrowly missed out on the winner’s spot, but are growing in confidence with each performance and finding themselves in demand. Lisa and Natalie’s vocal styles are quite different, but their voices blend together beautifully, covering a range of different musical styles.

At the other end of the spectrum comes, Brian Nicholson. Brian could be described as an essential cog in the Shetland Music scene, having played his part in a wide range of local bands over the years, including No Sweat, Hom Bru and the Sheila Henderson Band and also receiving plaudits over recent years for his part in the highly successful duo that is, Maggie Adamson & Brian Nicholson. Brian is best known for his guitar playing, and it would perhaps be easier to list who Brian hasn’t played with, but he has recently stepped out of the comfort of being part of the band and released his first solo album Fae Da Crossroads.

The new 16-track album contains a diverse range of songs and tunes. There is everything from the dialect songs of Bobby Tulloch to a cover version of Richard Thompson’s Tear Stained Letter interspersed with Brian’s own compositions. Brian will be playing a selection of the album tracks on the evening and will no doubt have a copy or two of his new album to hand if people are looking for a stocking filler.

Brian Nicholson

Sheila added: “It would be great to see as many people as possible at this first night in Mareel. The Open Mic section of the night is there for songwriters to try out new material or for singers just to share their vocal talents and we have a couple of great acts lined up to play. You don’t have to be a singer or a songwriter to come along either! An appreciative audience is also an essential element in making the Singers and Songwriters night a success.”

The singer-songwriter and open mic night is open to all and begins at 7pm in the Mareel Café Bar this Sunday (16th December).

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