News / SFA singer’s visit

Gruff Rhys will kick off his UK tour at Mareel in September.

PROLIFIC Welsh musician and composer Gruff Rhys, best known as the frontman in experimental rock band the Super Furry Animals, is to kick off his September UK tour at Mareel.

Shetland Arts has confirmed that Rhys will perform a show coinciding with its annual film festival Screenplay on Thursday 4 September. He is promoting his third solo album ‘American Interior’, and his new film of the same title will be screened the same day followed by a Q&A session.

Rhys has released nine albums with the Super Furry Animals (including four top ten successes), two with electronic band Neon Neon and three solo LPs. He has carved a career out of documenting the lives of others in stories “set to pop music heavily steeped in timeless melody and wide-eyed wonder”.

The ‘American Interior’ album (which charted at numer 24 in the UK charts last month) and complementary film are said to represent possibly Rhys’ “most fully realised character study yet”.


A warm and moving story of a true outsider’s life, it follows the path set by John Evans, a north Walian who set off on a quest to find the Madogwys – a legendary tribe of light skinned, Welsh-speaking native Americans.

An untrained cartographer, the map Evans made of his journey went beyond the known borders of the United States and ended up becoming the guide for Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition (1804-1806).

Rhys’ own exploration of Evans’ life took him from a native American sagebrush ceremony in a Cardiff arts centre to the heart of Mandan country in Norht Dakota. Along the way he undertook an “investigative concert tour” that wound its way from Yale University all the way to Memphis and helped cement his reputation as a social historian and master storyteller.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Following the nine date tour and extensive research undertaken on the way, Rhys returned home as arguably the world’s leading authority on Evans’ incredible life.

Shetland Arts’ Screenplay curator Kathy Hubbard described how she came to book Rhys for the festival.

“In February 2011 I went to see Gruff doing a solo gig at Oran Mor,” she said. “He was so good, and the audience adored him. I had some Shetland Arts-headed notepaper with me as I was down there to work, so I wrote a note to Gruff telling him how we were currently building Mareel and inviting him to play there.

“I then stuck this in an envelope and gave it to the young man who was minding the concessions stall and told him very solemnly that this was an important document that he must place directly into Gruff’s hands!”

She continued: “No sooner had I returned to my hotel than Gruff had emailed saying that he would love to come to Shetland and giving he his agent’s contact details.


“Opening Mareel took longer than we thought, but Gruff performing here has never been far from my mind. When he brought out his second film, ‘American Interior’, along with a new album, Screenplay was the obvious destination.

“I made contact again, and enticed him with the fact that ours is probably the only dressing room in Britain where you could fish for mackerel outside the window. I haven’t told him that the window doesn’t open yet. Let’s get him here first!”

• Tickets for Gruff Rhys’ live concert at Mareel will go on sale this Friday at Shetland Box Office. Tickets for the cinema screening of ‘American Interior’ will go on sale later this month.

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.