Well now I know what a turquoise turtle knot is, and where to acquire Sandalwood scent (Truefitt and Hill). This I did not expect in a novel, in which – the publishers tell us – that the narrator Edvard's "desperate quest to unlock [his] family's secrets takes him on a long journey – from Norway to the Shetlands [sic], and to the battlefields of France – through most of a century, and to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance."
Scottish alternative folk trio Salt House, featuring fiddler Lauren McColl, singer and harmonium player Jenny Sturgeon (who recently moved to the islands) and guitarist Ewan McPherson, headlined a fine evening of music at Mareel on Thursday night.
THE Scottish Chamber Orchestra's series of concerts in Shetland has been a little different than usual - two shows in local halls (Aith and Burravoe), a concert aimed at young children and parents, and one 'traditional' concert in Mareel.
YOU may have seen Phill Jupitus on telly as a team captain on BBC2’s pop quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks over the last 20 years, or heard his dynamic voice over the radio presenting shows and regularly contributing on comedy panel shows. However, not many in the crowd would have seen Porky the Poet, one of his alter egos and the opening act of the night, writes Aaron Leask.
THE Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been visiting Shetland intermittently for about 30 years: touring Scotland is one of its prime functions, and this year the deployment of its 24 strong string ensemble, under the direction of violinist Alexander Janiczek, has enabled the orchestra to tour Shetland itself – at Aith in the West Mainland, Burravoe in Yell, and at Mareel in Lerwick.
"You guys are quiet," Martha Wainwright told the audience sitting in the Mareel auditorium midway through her set on Wednesday night. "I'm gonna assume it's cause you're mesmerised," she added with a wry smile. She may have been on to something.
THE FIFTY or so souls who ventured out to the Lerwick Legion on an unusually still midsummer Monday night enjoyed a bluesy-country treat in the form of an intimate concert from classy American troubadour Willy Mason.
Probably best known for his mini-hit single Oxygen, which reached number 23 on the UK charts back in 2005, Mason’s career has gone a little quiet in recent years.
The creative efforts of students from several different programmes of study covered the college walls in a truly diverse display of talent.
Emerging from the fog of sleep to hear on the radio that there is to be an extended news bulletin, one now immediately knows, with a sinking heart, what to expect – another act of terror. So it is that A Prayer for the Healing of Nations is an apt and powerful plea for sanity, writes James Mackenzie.
All the way from Massachusetts, and fresh from a slot at the Orkney Folk Festival at the weekend, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards showed not one bit of fatigue as they wowed a sell-out crowd at Mareel on Tuesday night, writes Patrick Mainland.
Among the Lerwick audience were many who had seen them play here just last year at our very own folk festival, and they sat eagerly in anticipation of the night to come.
UP-AND-COMING London-based indie band Hunter and the Bear rocked the Lerwick Legion to its foundations on Friday night.
SHETLAND Arts’ unconventional 2016/17 classical season ended on Friday night in Mareel, with a concert of Baroque-era madrigals that was just as unusual, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.
The Dunedin Consort presented Love’s Fire; Love’s Ashes, a programme of 14 madrigals by groundbreaking Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, coinciding with the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The critically-acclaimed ensemble, fronted by director Nicholas Mulroy, were “delighted” to be in Shetland for the first time.
On the four-song EP Dark Horse, that positivity doesn’t reach out and grab you like the feel-good blues grooves of his work with The Holy Ghosts; instead, it flows, a subtle presence in an intriguing set of tunes.
It can’t be easy to plan a classical concert. Play it too safe, and the performance might fail to be memorable; make it too ‘out there’, and you risk alienating the audience.
Mr McFall’s Chamber took a risk with a programme of relatively modern Baltic tunes and Finnish Tango when they took to the stage at Mareel in Lerwick on Saturday: one that was well worth it.
The Islesburgh Drama Group's latest production On Golden Pond, set in a country house in Maine, New England, saw the American accents rolled out in force; a potentially perilous minefield, but it was at times wholly convincing.
SHETLAND Arts' 2016/17 classical season has, so far, been bold and uncompromising, with Shetland-born virtuoso Neil Georgeson at the helm of a series of characteristically unorthodox concerts. Saturday night saw the critically acclaimed Hebrides Ensemble take to the stage to put their own mark on the season, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.
Music fans turned out in force on Thursday night to see the last of Neil's performances as part of the 2016/17 classical season; packing out the auditorium for a concert that promised to marry sound and image in new and exciting ways. They had little idea what they were in for - Pictures was a mind-bending bit of experimental art, and an unforgettable experience.
Having grown up in Fair Isle, local artist Vivian Ross-Smith has always been fascinated by islands and their residents. Her new exhibition, Island Connections, is an ode to island life, and a celebration of the "island mentality", writes Alex Garrick-Wright.
Carrying on the mantle of his late father Davie Henderson’s “peerie Christmas sprees”, Kevin and bandmates Anders Hall and Olav Luksengard Mielva treated audiences to classy performances at the Shetland Museum in Lerwick on Friday, Muckle Roe Hall on Saturday and then Sandwick’s Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon.
It’s not looking good. They’ve spent their entire life savings getting here and now they’re struggling to manage the cost of keeping the house warm and the sheep fed.
Maintaining a balance between comfortably familiar and the challengingly unorthodox can be quite tricky to pull off in a classical concert. However, this is a trick that Life Story pulled off with aplomb for an eager Mareel audience on Thursday night, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.
Six months to a year is the general consensus amongst online advice columnists. But what if you’re relocating to the UK's most remote inhabited island to run a croft that you have absolutely no experience or qualifications for? Here the advice is, well, non-existent.
ONE OF Shetland's "greatest-ever ambassadors" is being celebrated in a new anthology published at the weekend. Bobby the Birdman is not an analytical biography of the islands' most famous birdwatcher, Bobby Tulloch, but a series of entertaining personal reminisces from people who were lucky enough to have known and worked with him.