Shetland Arts is delighted to announce the details of this year’s Shetland Guitar Festival, 26 – 27 October. Opening night will take place on Friday 26 October in Bigton Hall, headlined by Aziz Ibrahim featuring Dalbir Singh Rattan on Tablas. The second night will take place on Saturday 27 October in Mareel with an ‘alternative jazz’ performance by Stuart McCallum featuring a distillation of influences, creating a sound that is concentrated and distinctive.Aziz Ibrahim might be best known as the former guitarist (post-John Squire) for The Stone Roses and Ian Brown (solo), but he hides a history of studio and live work with a diverse roster of artists - ranging from Paul Weller, and The Players, to Simply Red, Steven Wilson and Asia, amongst many others. But, as anyone who has seen one of his own recent live shows will tell you, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Drawing equally on his Pakistani/British heritage and performing in a duo alongside tabla player Dalbir Singh Rattan, the Mancunian guitarist gives free rein to an incredibly broad mix of influences that he blends into what he calls 'The Asian Blues'. His live shows are known for their incredible musical journeys and infectious creativity. From jazz beginnings to DJ culture, Stuart McCallum’s music is a new hybrid of composition, production and performance. It embraces simple, memorable melodies, bass lines and drum beats, with electronica and improvisation enriched by elegant orchestral writing. Stuart has a wealth of experience in many different musical environments and genres. After being invited to join the Cinematic Orchestra in 2004, Stuart has performed on and contributed to the writing of the band’s critically acclaimed albums, ‘Ma Fleur’ and ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’. In addition he has contributed to the award winning Disney nature documentary soundtrack, ‘The Crimson Wing’, and the remix of Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music For A Film’ for Radiohead’s remix compilation album, ‘Exit Music: Songs For Radio Heads’. Stuart will be accompanied by his drummer and a bank of sampled tracks which, together with his unique use of effects, create a rich and multilayered orchestral sound.
Stuart will be supporting Aziz on the Friday, and Aziz will supporting Stuart on Saturday, each with short solo spots, giving all festival attendees a chance to see these headliners.
Stuart and Dave will be collaborating with some of the Mareel / Shetland college HNC music students for a part of Stuart's performance at Mareel on Saturday. The students are Norman Wilmore on tenor sax, Hayden Hook on double bass & cello, Max Tyler on trumpet & piano, and Martha Thompson on violin.
Stuart and Dave will also be hosting a workshop on Saturday afternoon, 2pm to 4pm, in Mareel. Topics covered will include music technology, music business, guitar technique and an open ended range of other subjects. The workshop is open to all. Tickets cost £5 and are free for Shetland College / Mareel music students.
The Shetland Guitar Festival is a celebration of guitar with concerts and educational events held in autumn each year. The event is dedicated to the memory of the late great 'Peerie' William Johnson, the highly regarded guitarist who pioneered the jazz influenced accompaniment style now prevalent in traditional Shetland music. Willie was heavily influenced by the jazz musicians he heard on the radio as a young man, the festival always has a healthy dose of jazz guitar in the mix.
Shetland Arts’ Music Development Officer Bryan Peterson said: “We're delighted to be hosting two of the UK’s most original and visionary guitarists. Aziz and Stuart both seamlessly meld a range of contemporary and traditional influences and ingenious use of technology to create their signature sounds. It'll be a great experience for our music students to have the chance to collaborate with such fine musicians too."
Tickets Friday 26 at Bigton Hall cost £10 / £8 and doors open at 7pm. Tickets for Saturday 27 at Mareel cost £14 / £12 and doors open at 7pm. Tickets for these concerts, as well as the Saturday workshop, are available from Shetland Box Office in Mareel/Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, or online at www.shetlandboxoffice.org or www.mareel.org.
A documentary about the making of Stuart McCallum’s album Distilled:
A video of Aziz and Dalbir performing: