Showcases / Countdown to first jazz and world music fest

ONE OF the “most exciting festivals to be held in Shetland” is taking place in June. The Shetland JAWS Festival – born from the isles’ Jazz Festival – will take place over nine days.

The Scottish National Jazz-Orchestra.
The Scottish National Jazz-Orchestra.

There is set to be a smorgasbord of styles on offer, from Eddi Reader performing with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to a drumming showcase of global talent.

Across the festival – which is taking place over June 5-14 and named after the promoters Jazz and World Sounds Shetland – will be gigs from the top to bottom of the isles, with Unst, Sumburgh and Sandwick all on the schedule.

Here are just some of the highlights: –

  • World Premiere of a new composition by renowned saxophonist Tommy Smith and his Karma crew who will perform a new piece inspired by Shetland poets Christine De Luca and Alex Cluness at Lerwick’s Mareel on 6 June;
  • The Drum Explosions bringing together four of the finest percussionists in a unique celebration of the art of drumming.
    Bruce Ncube from Zimbabwe, Adriano Adewale from Brazil, Asaf Sirkis from Israel/Palestine and Sura Susso from The Gambia are all musicians at the top of their game and with profound international reputations.
    For their Shetland visit they will be featured in percussion workshops and in live performance at Scalloway Hall on 6 June, and Lerwick Town Hall on 7 June;
  • Eddi Reader singing ALBA the songs of Scotland with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in another unique combination of Scottish traditions.
    It is indeed a rare treat to see two such incredible sets of performers come together to create an original and uplifting sound. Not to be missed. Mareel 12 and 13 June.

Other highlights are:

  • The Bevvy Sisters performing a selection of songs based on the work of the Bard of Dundee, Michael Marra (Town Hall 11 June);
  • Christine Tobin celebrating the 150th anniversary of W B Yeats with her own songs of Byzantium accompanied by a superb ensemble featuring some of the best jazz musicians in the UK, (Town Hall 10 June);
  • Songstress Melanie Harrold making the long trip from the most southerly point of Shetland, the Sumburgh Lighthouse, to almost the most northerly point, performing in Sumburgh (7 June) and at Saxa Vord (8 June);
  • there’s a New Orleans brunch with Gumbo food and the Criterion Jazz Band in Bixter (7 June);
  • and a great knees up breeze of a gig in Sandwick (9 June) with Mousa Sound Stompers, Misbehavin’ and GaelForce9.

The whole thing is topped off with a sensational Grand Finale Gala Gig at the Town Hall on 14 June where Shetland bassist Hayden Hook will lead his Amsterdam trio Trio Tarot amongst a host of Shetland’s finest and brightest shining jazz talent.

For full details and the easiest booking facility you’ll ever find go to or the Shetland Box Office website at

As well as tickets for individual gigs, stroller gold card tickets can still be bought that will get you into as many gigs as you want for just £75.00 (payable in three monthly instalments of £25.00). It could not be easier!