Sunday 14 July 2024
 11.7°C   NNE Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Reviews / Sproule’s love affair with Shetland

Devon Sproule at Mareel for real on Friday. Photo Devon Sproule

GIFTED singer songwriter Devon Sproule’s intimate Saturday night performance at Cullivoe following her well attended Mareel show was an absolute treat for artists and audience alike.

The fifty or so folk were in for something different, and most received her alternative folk style really well.

First on stage, local singer and guitar heart throb Malachy Tallack presented his usual array of poetic anthems with gusto.

Tallack’s entire set felt well rooted, much like the proverbial willow tree. His disdain of city life and his early experiences with alcohol make it exceptionally clear which part of the world has most influenced his lyrics. 

His ode to Tennents Lager was funny, yet scarily close to reality for many in north Yell. Internal conflicts were evident all around, as men warily eyed their yellow and silver cans. 

Next up were Bernice, the Canadian duo accompanying Sproule who also produced an accomplished set in their own right. The polished picking of guitarist Thom Gill matched the lofty vocals of his stage partner Robin Dann to produce smooth and soulful songs such as How To Be French

The night went up a notch when Sproule and the rest of her outfit soon joined Bernice on stage.

The award winning and internationally acclaimed American/Canadian songstress has perfected her talent over a career that has seen her touring since her first album was released at the age of 16.

Bubbly, amusing and intriguing throughout her set, she delivers her soft, sweet and honest lyrics with a powerful voice, while her guitar playing is impressive in the extreme.

The resulting sound is predominately folk based, with curious jazz and funk undertones, a style entirely new to Cullivoe, but which pleased the majority of the crowd and earned her several new fans.

Tracks to look out for are Plea For A Good Night’s Rest, Aint That The Way, Old Virginia Block and, in particular, You Can’t Help It – the tune from her upcoming collaborative album Colours, which provided the highlight of the evening…musically, that is.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


After pressing concert duties had been attended to and well applauded, Sproule and her entourage were “treated” to copious amounts of Crappin Heids and Jaegerbombs.

Sproule has been here before, and joked on stage about how she “opened Mareel at the Garrison Theatre” last year due to the music and cinema venue delayed completion.

She got her chance this time around, reflecting that her Mareel show the night before had been an “amazing” experience.

“It was really fun, and I’d been looking forward to it for a long time,” she said.

“It was some of the best sound set up I’ve ever had and the people running it were so good, as well as really nice, which is kind of an amazing combination in this business.”

However Mareel must settle for playing second fiddle on this tour – Sproule said the more intimate Cullivoe gig will remain the highlight.

“It was wonderful; it was our favourite of the whole tour and another piece of the Shetland puzzle.

“When we heard it was going to be a crowd of fifty, we were actually really excited.

“I think I just want to play village halls from now on, and I’d love to come back and maybe make it a regular thing.

“The best you can ask for is a place with a strong sense of community, and also with a sound system that’s up-to-stuff.

“This was the perfect combination of feeling comfy and taken care of, and also being able to hear myself and the band really well on stage.

“I can’t remember ever being so well cared for. We’ll come back whenever we can.”

In fact, the Cullivoe encounter was so enjoyable – for both punters and performer – that Sproule is considering staying longer in the isles.

“I’ve been talking about maybe applying, or asking about doing a residency somewhere up here to write some stuff, which I think would be totally amazing.

“But first I’m going home to Texas, and a one off show in California, and then me and the band have got a tour planned for the UK mainland and Ireland.”

Daniel Lawson

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.