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.
Comic Creation with Edward Ross, held at Lerwick's Mareel on Thursday, invited locals of any and all levels of ability or interest in comics to come along and try their hand, under the guidance of Edinburgh-based comic artist Edward Ross.
Ross freely admitted that he would never have pegged himself as a comic writer. While he dabbled in comics as a teenager (both reading and drawing them) he had fully intended to be a filmmaker.
Appointed national poet for Scotland in March of this year, Kay's event opened the Wordplay 2016 festival, and a better opening it would have been difficult to find.
Flit, however, felt a sum of all its parts, with the quintet melting together seamlessly to magic up a musical journey as enveloping and progressive as Shetland has ever seen.
Seann Walsh and Mark Simmons broke out the belly laughs in September, while Mark Steel is returning in November - and let's not forget about the likes of Ross Noble and Dylan Moran who have visited in recent years.
The latest comedian to head up north was Russell Kane, perhaps best known for appearing on the telly on shows like Live At The Apollo and Celebrity Juice.
The evening started off with Shetland band Kansa. As band member Norma put it, we were taken on a “whistle-stop tour of country across the decades”. And what a delightful tour it was!
The group, which began in 2011 and currently consists of 110 children aged from 3 to 17 years, put on an incredibly impressive show featuring a range of dance styles and spooky costumes to a packed out audience of around 600 people.
A BOOK launch is usually a straightforward affair: the author reads some extracts and talks a little about the book to entice people to buy it. However, when that book is Ann Cleeves' new Shetland-based murder novel, and to discuss the plot risks spoiling the enjoyment of unravelling the mystery, what's to be done?
It's been four years since Neil Georgeson played to a Shetland audience, on the then new stage of Mareel's auditorium. On Thursday night, the prodigal son returned to an enthusiastic reception, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.
The seats were packed with eager fans, all clamouring to hear one of the isles' most talented musicians play his home turf once again. He did not disappoint.
WITH Shetland possessing its own distinct musical tradition, Richard Hawley confessed towards the end of his Mareel gig that he’d feared it’d be “a bit like selling fridges to eskimos”. On this evidence, if Hawley had been the salesman there’d be a bunch of igloos with electrical cooling appliances in them by now.
Tuesday night’s rapturously received show – part of the tenth anniversary of Shetland Arts’ thriving film festival Screenplay – can safely be added to a bulging catalogue of memorable nights in the North Ness auditorium.
AS SOON as KT Tunstall bounded on stage just after 9pm and started nattering away to the Clickimin audience like they were old pals, there was no doubt we were in for a feel-good night in the company of a class act.
Islanders snapped up tickets for the show back in May so rapidly that it was upgraded from Mareel to a bigger room across town.
But Shetlander Marjolein Robertson handles it with the professionalism of a comedian with many years experience below her belt – by cutting a deal to pet the dog at the end of the show.
Marjolein touts herself as "the UK's second most Northerly comedian" which ticked a number of boxes for this exiled reviewer...the main one being having never seen a Shetland-based comedian performing at the festival which, for the month of August, takes over the city he calls home.
AFTER a week of hectic workshops, sessions, tours and shows, another Fiddle Frenzy came to a satisfying and spirited conclusion with the slightly awkwardly-named Frenzy Sessions, Frenzy Students and Jodie Smith show in Mareel on Saturday night.
The Grammy-nominated folk/country/Americana star was accompanied by partner Barry Walsh on piano and accordion for a set of beautifully vivid songs.
En Rêve - the final concert of both the Scottish Ensemble's Shetland Season and their four-day residency. So, after all this build up, did the ensemble manage to end on a high?
WHEN Stuart Maconie set out to promote his latest book, The Pie At Night, he fully realised that a standard book-reading tour, where the audience sits and watches the author read passages from their own work, can be a little dull, writes Alex Garrick-Wright.
So Stuart began to add anecdotes and jokes. Over time, this side of the show grew and grew, and by the time he came to Mareel on Saturday night, the show had become something very unusual indeed.
A 250-plus turnout – at the start of a weekend when a fair few folkies are off to the Orkney festival – certainly goes some way to dispelling any notion that there’s no audience for English folk music in these parts.
There might be a heavenly, ethereal feel to their vocal performance, but the down-to-earth patois of the Gateshead siblings and their band saw the crowd immediately warm to the quintet.
The previous show Quintets was comprised entirely of three long compositions.
Duos for Violin and Cello was a musical anthology of shorter pieces that worked very well.
Following a concept developed by Gardner and put into action by Owens, the 'Settin' the Woods on Fire: The Songs of Hank Williams' show hit the stage at the Mid Yell Hall on Friday before playing at Mareel on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
A slimy lawyer in service to a brutal Glasgow big man. A dodgy senior cop who might be covering for her rapist son. Three deaths, another rape, extortion and money laundering.
The Might of the Myth, the new book released this week by veteran music promoter Jeff Merrifield, is by his own admission a 73-years-in-the-making magnum opus. Better known in Shetland for his JAWS work than for his fortean writing, Alex Garrick-Wright went along to the launch on Wednesday night to gain a little insight into the book.
The Might of the Myth is the culmination of decades of interest and experience, a journey first started by Merrifield and his friend Ken Campbell, the late actor and theatrical experimentalist, in the mid-1990s.