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The show it must go on

Madison Violet took the Shetland Folk Festival by storm five years ago and are all set to do the same again.

ANOTHER exciting mix of local, national and international artists have been lined up for the 34th Shetland Folk Festival in May.

This year’s festival will be in honour of Davie Henderson, the festival committee veteran who died suddenly last month aged 63.

Henderson was responsible for booking all 16 visiting acts for this year’s four day event from 1 May. They will be joined by almost 50 local performers.

Canadian gospel greats The Sojourners

Highlight of the festival could well be the return of the highly popular Canadian roots group Madison Violet who were a huge hit when they last came in 2009.

Also from Canada come Vancouver-based American gospel group The Sojourners and Newfoundland traditional outfit The Dardanelles, described as “one of the best live acts in the world these days”.

Indigenous dance act The Asham Stompers from Manitoba are bound get things moving.

A 14 piece dance group from Manitoba called The Asham Stompers will showcase spectacular traditional dancing from Canada’s indigenous communities.

Also from across the Atlantic comes trio Brittany Haas, Jordan Tice and Paul Kowert, hailed as three of the most exciting young musicians in American acoustic music today.

Bringing a ray of Mexican heat into the festival will be London-based Mariachi band Mariachi Tequila, guaranteed to get people up on their feet.

From London bringing the sound of Mexico with them are Mariachi Tequila

From slightly further south (as in Brighton), The Mountain Firework Company will be bringing their much-praised sound, which has been compared to the likes of The Waterboys, Dire Straits and Richard Thompson.

This year Scandinavia is represented by trio Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, who blend Norwegian, Swedish and Shetland fiddle styles, with the islands’ own Kevin Henderson.

From Belgium there will be mandolin four piece MANdolinMAN, combining original music with Flemish folk tunes and some bossa nova.

Fullset promise to show why they are being hailed as the big new sound from Ireland.

And from Ireland, the energetic and innovative FullSet will be demonstrating why they are becoming so well known on the music scene over there.

Closer to home and returning for their fourth visit to the Shetland Folk Festival for one night only are that eight-piece Orcadian riot of fiddles, banjos, accordions and drum known as The Chair.

Fellow Orkney islanders Saltfishforty – now a five piece – will be here for the whole weekend with their high energy tunes and contemporary compsotions.

For one night only, The Chair from Orkney.

One of Scotland’s brightest rising folk stars is Adam Holmes and the Embers, who comes with what has been described as “the sound of John Martyn’s strum and sting, laced with a slice of Paolo Nutini soul with a touch of traditional folk”.

Scottish-based Rose Room will transport listeners back to the 1930s with their Stephane Grappelli/Django Reinhardt swing jazz sound.

Rose Room - the sound of the Swinging Thirties

More traditional Scottish music will come from Mairearad Green and Anna Massie, and top Scottish fiddler Adam Sutherland.

Among the almost 50 local acts joining them through the four days and sleepless nights will be 2014 Danny award winner Arthur Nicholson, the legendary duo Bryan Gear and Violet Tulloch and Shetland’s premier rock band The Revellers.

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc with Shetland's own Keving Henderson

Festival spokeswoman Mhari Pottinger said: “Whilst it is a very difficult time for the committee at the moment, we realise that the show must go on.

“Davie served on our committee for nearly 25 years and as the programmer of the festival’s visiting artistes, he has secured Shetland audiences many fantastic and innovative line-ups through the years.

“The 34th Festival is certainly no exception.”

Hot from his Danny award at Celtic Connections, Arthur Nicholson

Early folk festival membership is on sale now and will close on 28 February for people who want to book tickets online from mid March, three weeks ahead of everyone else on 5 April.

For the first time tickets and membership will only be available online.

The hottest and fastest selling ticket in town, if past year’s are anything to go by, will be the Festival Foy on Sunday 4 May when most of the visiting musicians will play a 15 minute slot at three different venues in Lerwick.

More information on the festival, including all the visiting acts’ biographies with sound samples can be found at www.shetlandfolkfestival.com.

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