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Folk festival line-up takes shape

SHETLAND Folk Festival celebrates its 30th birthday with an “eclectic and innovative” mix of new and well known visiting musicians from around the world.

The mammoth event that has earned an unrivalled reputation across the world of folk music will feature 14 guest bands, split between festival veterans and newcomers, hailing from Scotland, USA, India, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, France, Slovenia and England.

Returnees include Sweden’s leading acoustic outfit Väsen, Simon Thoumire and Ian Carr from Scotland, as well as the ever popular New Rope String Band.

Amongst the new faces will be a four-piece ensemble based in India and Germany called Ahimsa, fusing Indian Carnatic music and jazz; the USA’s Foghorn Stringband playing their interpretation of old-time American stringband music; and the multi-award winning Scottish folk trio Lau.

Scotland will be further represented by Session A9 and Orkney favourites The Chair, who will play an “inter county” gig tackling one of Shetland’s top bands, probably Fullsceilidh Spelemanslag.

Also from Sweden come three singing sisters called Baskery, who describe their music as “high voltage”, “killbilly”, “banjo punk” and “mud-country”, with “stunning harmonies, original compositions, distinctive character and unafraid punk attitude”.

Slovenia will be represented by Eva Hren and Sladcore, who merge their folk heritage with jazzy undertones, ethno-folk, pop and even heavy rock.

Ireland is represented by The Unwanted, three Sligo based musicians including Cathy Jordan of Dervish, combining Irish and Appalachian traditions; the gypsy jazz of the Paradiso Jazz Quartet; and up and coming band Mórga, who revive the sounds of the great traditional Irish bands of the ‘70s.

Local acts include Fiddlers’ Bid, Hom Bru, Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag and Maggie Adamson & Brian Nicholson.

The festival starts on 29 April and ends with the famous “foy” on 2 May. After early sell outs in recent years, extra capacity is being organised for the opening night concert at Lerwick’s Clickimin Leisure Complex, and a special children’s concert is being set up.

Several local businesses have stepped in with sponsorship support, including Baker Tilly, Delta Marine, Greig Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd, LHD and Shetland Catch, with more sponsors being sought.

Festival membership goes on sale on 22 January with membership forms available on the festival’s website www.shetlandfolkfestival.com , where there is more information about the visiting acts with sound samples.