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Shetland Arts is gearing up for a busy Opening Weekend at Mareel over the weekend of 16 – 18 November. Events for the weekend include Shetland Meets Appalachia, Scottish indie-band Aberfeldy, the famous Dougie MacLean, a selection of local live music in the Café Bar, Opening Celebration speeches, an Exhibition Opening with Artist Callum Moncrieff, and other little forms of celebration to be revealed on the Saturday. Everyone is welcomed to come along and mark the moment.

Shetland Meets Appalachia – a exploration of our common musical roots featuring Bruce Molsky and Special Shetland Guests is a series of concerts across Shetland – in Muckle Roe on the 15th of November and Cullivoe on the 16th – which culminates in an Opening Weekend performance in Mareel on Saturday 17th. For his second visit to Shetland (his first was as part of this years’ Trans-Atlantic Sessions concert) Bruce will be teaming up and collaborating with some of Shetland’s finest home-based musicians such as Gary Peterson, Maurice Henderson, Maggie Adamson and Brian Nicholson, the Cullivoe Fiddlers, the Heritage Fiddlers, Lynda Anderson, Ryan Couper, Freda Leask, Peter Wood, and Sheila Henderson to explore the roots and commonality between the North American and Shetland traditions. In addition to this, groups such as Hom Bru, Haltadans and Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag will also be joining Bruce to add further to the musical fireworks that are bound to be created during this visit.

Some of the Special Shetland Guests for Shetland Meets Appalachia

Originally formed in 2003 Aberfeldy have consistently been hailed as one of Scotland’s leading indie bands. Their debut album Young Forever (2004) spawned the single Heliopolis by Night which NME nominated as their ‘Single of the Week’ while the album itself also entered the UK charts on its release. Further albums Do Whatever Turns You On (2006) and their more recent offering Somewhere To Jump From cemented the bands growing reputation and popularity, and secured them tour and support slots with the likes of REM, Blondie, and the Scissor Sisters. They have played Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party and entered millions of peoples' homes thanks to their songs appearing on Argentinean beer and Diet Coke TV adverts.


Dougie MacLean is Scotland’s pre-eminent singer-songwriter. Perhaps his most famous composition is the near anthemic Caledonia – a song that has been covered by over 200 artists world-wide, including the likes of Ronan Keating, Frankie Miller, Paolo Nutini and Amy MacDonald. The song has even had a whisky named in its honour.

But Dougie is most certainly not a one-song-wonder – a fact supported by the many gold discs and other international awards and accolades he has collected throughout his career. Dougie tours globally on a regular basis, selling out large concerts the world over including venue’s such as New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. He was recently awarded an OBE for his contribution to music in the New Year’s Honours List.

Dougie MacLean

During the day on Saturday 17th there will be live music in the Café Bar from midday, and Opening Celebration speeches from 6pm – 6.45pm. On Sunday 18th from 11am – 12.30pm there will be an Exhibition Opening with Artist Callum Moncrieff.

Shetland Arts’ Marketing Officer, Lisa Ward, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome such a diverse and talented group of artists, both visiting and local, to Mareel for Official Opening Weekend. The events planned sum up what Mareel is all about – showcasing excellent talent from Shetland and beyond, as well as emphasising Mareel’s links with venues around the Isles, as is the case for the Shetland Meets Appalachia events. The Official Opening Weekend is about celebrating with everyone, so we urge anyone interested to pop in and join us in marking the moment.”

Tickets for the Opening Season events can be purchased via Shetland Box Office in Mareel and Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, and online at and Tickets for the Muckle Roe event can also be purchased from the Muckle Roe Hall Committee and tickets for the Cullivoe event can also be purchased from the Cullivoe Shop.

Shetland Meets Appalachia Lineup

Bruce Molsky

Bruce Molsky stands today as the premier old-time fiddler in the world, the defining virtuoso of North America’s (and Appalachia’s in particular) timeless folk music traditions. In addition to a prolific solo career, performing on fiddle, guitar, and banjo, Molsky frequently joins genre-busting supergroups, like the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers Four, Mozaik and Celtic giant Donal Lunny. He featured on Nickel Creek's farewell tour, and performs in a trio with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and Sweden's great Ale Moller. He’s also a regular guest on the famed ‘Trans-Atlantic Sessions’ concerts and TV shows series.

The Cullivoe Fiddlers are in the village of Cullivoe in Yell. This group focuses on Shetland's musical traditions and in particular play in the old style of ringing strings - much of what they do being particular to the area they live in.

The Heritage Fiddlers is a mainly female group that focuses on Shetland's traditions above all others. The group was originally started by Dr Tom Anderson many years ago when the members were all very young - they are now all in their mid to late 30's.

Maggie Adamson & Brian Nicholson - Maggie is Shetland's new young fiddle protégé. She has won many national competitions over her very young years, playing in both the local and Scottish style, culminating in her winning the Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Championship last year - only the 2nd Shetlander ever to do so. She is currently studying at the Scottish Conservatoire (RSAMD) and is a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland - with whom she made an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall this year for the annual Proms (the lead violinist was Nicola Bernadetti). For his part Brian is without a doubt Shetland's finest guitarist (both acoustic and electric) and has received accolades from the likes of Albert Lee.

Lynda Anderson is one of Shetland's best kept secrets. Lynda has spent a lot of time outside Shetland - mainly in America - but is now back in residence here. Experienced in both the Shetland and many North American styles, she has played all over the states including the Grand Ole Opry.

Maurice Henderson with Haltadans and Fullsceilidh Spellemannslag -  Maurice is a member of Fiddlers Bid. However he not only has his own talents to bring to the table here, but also two of his local bands Haltadans and  Fullsceilidh Spellemannslag. ‘Spellemannslag’ is Norwegian to describe a lose gathering of musicians.

Gary Peterson and Hom Bru - Gary is an amazing banjo and mandolin player - indeed he's internationally recognised in this respect. Hom Bru are nothing short of legendary in Shetland circles. They were the first Shetland folk band to go professional in the 1980's and tour both nationally and internationally. They are still in demand on the UK touring and festival circuit today.

Sheila Henderson is one of Shetland's most acclaimed country / Americana singer / songwriters. Sheila has a profile both nationally and internationally.

Ryan Couper is perhaps Shetland's leading young guitarist in all styles of music. He has even shared the stage with the one and only Martin Taylor in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in the past.

Freda Leask is a very fine singer / songwriter from the islands - who also, on occasions sings in local dialect. She also specialises in Bluegrass.

Peter Wood is a top notch accordion player in many styles and a stalwart of the Shetland music scene. He is currently an accordion tutor in Shetland schools.

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