Spectacular Sounds of the Shetland Folk Festival

The 2008 Shetland Folk Festival, taking place from 1 to 4 May, will be celebrating 28 years of this prestigious event with performances by some of the very best International, British and Shetland musicians at venues throughout Scotland’s Shetland isles. The Festival Club in the Islesburgh Community Center in Lerwick will host both formal and informal concerts, as well as workshops throughout the festival.

The first Shetland Folk Festival was held in 1981 as a result of a conversation between the late Dr. Tom Anderson and Charlie Simpson. Having played as part of the Shetland Fiddler’s Society at a number of festivals on mainland Scotland, they decided that it would be an excellent idea for Shetland to have its own festival. It was hoped that the festival would provide a platform to celebrate Shetland’s rich musical heritage and highlight Shetland’s own unique fiddle tradition. The festival was a resounding success and has gone from strength to strength.

The 2008 Shetland Folk Festival will be featuring plenty of homegrown talent, alongside a host of visiting artists. From the Isle of Skye, the Peatbog Faeries will entertain festival-goers with their unique style of music played on traditional Scottish instruments, which takes listeners on a trip through traditional jigs and reels, jazz, reggae, hip hop and more, in what has been described by fans as uplifting and exciting Scottish fusion. Award winning group, Le Vent du Nord from Quebec, will delight audiences with their original and traditional songs which they perform in their home language of French. Accompanied by instruments, which include the fiddle and hurdy gurdy, the energetic group of four will have crowds up and dancing in no time.

With a sound that combines button accordion, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, flute and bodhrán, David Munnely’s band from Ireland has taken the Celtic music scene by storm with their high-spirited instrumental sound which has a hint of jazz and ragtime. Kansas born Andy McKee is considered to be one of today’s best finger-style guitarists. Drawing his inspiration from diverse sources such as Metallica, Bjork and Tchaikovsky, this talented guitarist has created a unique acoustic guitar style that will leave audiences wanting more. Other artists that audiences can expect to see include Danish fiddler Henrik Jansberg, acoustic band Afion from Croatia, Hanggai from Beijing, and Rory Ellis from Australia.

Clearly, music-lovers have many good reasons to travel to the northern-most area of Scotland to enjoy the 28th Shetland Folk Festival.