Fiddle Frenzy is Shetland Arts’ annual celebration of the Shetland fiddle tradition which runs during the first week of August each year. Seven days of workshops, concerts, sessions, tours and masterclasses offer total immersion in the distinctive Shetland fiddle style.

Learn secrets from a range of experienced tutors, explore the landscape which has inspired our unique repertoire, and meet the characters who make Shetland music popular world-wide.

In 2017 and 2018 Shetland Fiddle Frenzy is Curated by Claire White.

Festival passes are available to book now using the link below. Please note - programme details are still subject to change at this date.

The Fiddle Frenzy concerts are now also on sale, spot the Fiddle Frenzy concerts by their FF2017 logo here

2017 Programme now available online!

Fiddle Frenzy Programme


  • Improver FiddleYou should be able to play a few tunes without much hesitation, and have had some experience learning by ear.
  • Intermediate FiddleYou should feel at ease playing several tunes at a medium speed, and feel quite comfortable learning by ear.
  • Advanced FiddleYou should be very confident at playing more technical tunes and be able to play at a quick tempo. Ideally, you should be keen on learning by ear.
  • GuitarGuitar accompaniment to fiddle is common in the Shetland tradition, made best known by the unique style of ‘Peerie’ Willie Johnson, who performed with Tom Anderson and Aly Bain. A full week of guitar workshops will be led by experienced tutors Tom Oakes and Arthur Nicholson
  • Creative FringeCreative Fringe workshops at Fiddle Frenzy are a collection of Shetland craft experiences which deepen your connection with the islands' natural environment and rich handwork traditions.


  • Mareel
  • Ollaberry

Fiddle Frenzy Tutors 2017

Creative Fringe

  • Amy Colvin & Ana ArnettAmy and Ana both left Shetland to complete BA(Hons) Degrees, Ana in Sculpture at Glasgow School of Art and Amy, Painting at Grays School of Art. Their similar approach to teaching and their personal practice has led to them delivering a range of workshops together and collaborating on personal projects also. Their laid back approach makes for fun and inclusive workshops.


  • Claire WhiteClaire White is an award-winning singer songwriter and fiddler from Lerwick. She learned music from Dr Tom Anderson and has been performing and teaching internationally for the past twenty-five years. Claire’s current line-ups include Blyde Lasses, Hjaltibonhoga, Danse McCabre and Jingbang. When not making music, Claire produces Out of Doors on BBC Radio Scotland.
  • Martha ThomsonDaughter of renowned fiddle maker (and player) Ewen Thomson, Martha is a former winner of Shetland Young Fiddler of the year and a well respected face on the Shetland Music Scene
  • Jenna ReidShetland Fiddler, Jenna Reid has toured all over the world with many different bands. She appeared on the 3rd and 4th series of Transatlantic Sessions where she performed with many musicians including Martha Wainwright, Stuart Duncan and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. Jenna has released four solo fiddle albums and has appeared on over 20 recordings. Jenna enjoys writing new music and has published her own book of tunes, 'The Quarff Collection'. Look out for Jenna in chamber folk quartet, RANT & Highlands & Islands Fiddle Band, BLAZIN' FIDDLES.
  • Andrew GiffordAndrew began fiddle lessons in primary school and was taught by both Willie Hunter and Margaret Robertson. He has been a member of world-travelled Shetland band, Fiddlers’ Bid for over 20 years, having recorded four albums with them. Now based in Glasgow, Andrew enjoys playing a variety of musical styles, with several different bands.
  • Barry NisbetBarry Nisbet is a Shetland fiddler and songwriter who was brought up in the north of Yell playing in the traditional style of the Cullivoe Fiddlers, as well as music from the wider Shetland tradition. He has performed with Cullivoe based band Rack N Ruin since the early 1990s, has had a variety of solo projects, and has toured recently in Europe with Dundee based Wire and Wool, and with French band Tildon Krautz. Barry’s music features on the following albums: Rack n Ruin – Da Ruination (1998) The Cullivoe Fiddlers (2006) Wire and Wool – Wire and Wool (2016).
  • Pauleen WisemanPauleen started learning the fiddle at age 5 and was taught by Catriona MacDonald, Jeanna Inkster, Dr Tom Anderson and Willie Hunter. She plays fiddle, piano and flute and has performed worldwide with Shetland's Heritage Fiddlers and at the Edinburgh military tattoo with Hjaltibonhoga. She has been instructing fiddle and piano in Shetland schools for 17 years and graduated in 2015 from Perth College UHI with a Masters in music composition for Film, TV and Media. Pauleen has composed and recorded music for the book and film 'Havera: the story of an Island' and for the project 'Migrants: a Shetland response'.
  • Bernadette PorterA former pupil of Tom Anderson, Bernadette is a familiar face on the Shetland Fiddle scene teaching school pupils and adults alike for the last 25 years. Bernadette has been responsible for developing many of the current talented Shetland fiddle players around, and was a founder member of Trigbag and Square Da Mizzen and the Northmavine Fiddle and Accordion club. She also ran a very successful youth group who went as far afield as Denver, Colorado and Norway. A number of these past students are now professional musicians in their own right.
  • Jim LeaskOne of the finest Shetland fiddle players. Jim is a master of harmony playing who brings a unique style to our sound. He has led the "Marlex Sessions" for a number of years. Many of the local groups play his set arrangements and think of them as "traditional". Jim was a founder member of Trigbag and Square Da Mizzen.
  • Ross CouperBorn & raised in Shetland, and son of musician & fiddle teacher Margaret Robertson, Ross is a familar face at Fiddle Frenzy and always a popular tutor. Ross’ explosive fiddle playing lies at the heart of some of the biggest acts on the Scottish folk scene previously part of Scots Folk Award winning (Band of the Year) Bodega. He is currently fiddle player with the mighty Peatbog Faeries.
  • Lois Nicol
  • Kirsten Hendry


  • Tom OakesTom Oakes is a multi-award winning guitarist and flautist composer who was a founder member of the genre defying Auvo Quartet and now heads up his own ‘Tom Oakes Experiment’ highlighting Oakes as a flautist and composer. Tom plays regularly with FF 2017 Fiddle Tutor Ross Couper. over the last five years the pair have (amongst many other things!) played three sell out performances at Celtic Connections, toured Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the UK (Including Cambridge, Shetland and many more festivals) Played in front of 5000+ collaborating with Danish popstar Lukas Graham at Tonder festival. Appeared as the band on the BBC’s ‘Shetland’ drama twice, on multiple TV broadcasts for BBC Alba and provided music for the latest advert by clothing giant Anthropologie.
  • Arthur NicolsonSinger/songwriter Arthur Nicholson was born to be a musician and has been heavily involved in the Shetland music scene from an early age. He plays extensively with local bands such as First Foot Soldiers, Spoothawk and North Country Fair and released his solo debut album in 2013. He has opened for a number of established artists that have visited Shetland including Dean Owens, Ricky Ross, Martyn Simpson and Devon Sproule.


  • Mareel
  • Ollaberry Hall
  • Bressay Hall
  • Shetland Museum & Archives


Visiting Artists

  • Danse McCabre Ceilidh Band
  • Salt House
  • Ross Couper and Tom Oakes
  • RANT

Local Artists

  • High Level Orchestra
  • Ceilidh Puckles
  • Kirsten Hendry & Andy Kain
  • Haltadans
  • Northmavine Fiddle & Accordion Club
  • Papa Stour Sword Dance
  • Shetland’s Heritage Fiddlers
  • Kansa
  • Young Fiddler of the Year
  • Martha & Ewen Thomson
  • Peter Gear & Ewen Thomson
  • Rack & Ruin
  • Fiddle Frenzy Students
  • Hjaltibonhoga Tattoo Fiddlers

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