TWO Shetland fiddlers are currently enjoying big praise on the national music scene and beyond.
Jenna and Bethany Reid form half of Scottish fiddle quartet RANT, who unleashed their second album Reverie in May.
It’s an at times rousing, rambunctious cocktail of high-jinx string work, while reflective moments of lucid down-time are chucked in for good measure too.
The record has already received high praise from the likes of The Guardian – which gave it four out of five – and The Scotsman, which went one further and slapped Reverie with the full gamut of five stars.
The hugely positive feedback has buoyed RANT, who also feature Highland fiddlers Sarah-Jane Summers and Lauren MacColl and have previously been nominated for a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award.
“I’m so delighted,” Glasgow-based Jenna Reid said. “We’ve worked really hard on this album and given so much time and energy towards its release and the promotion of it.
“The concerts have been a huge part of it and we are really proud of its achievement so far. It’s a long process from start to finish, probably over a year of rehearsal and fine-tuning.
“Choosing artwork and design for the package is just as important as the music inside.”
RANT released their self-titled debut album in 2013 after meeting up at the Gow festival in Dunkeld for seemingly innocuous “tunes and a blether”.
Reverie sees RANT fine-tune things even further, with the 13 tunes recorded in a live setting.
“It’s a more mature, developed RANT album,” Reid said.
“It represents our live show while hearing more of the individual voices that make up the blend of music.
“It’s a live recording, with no separation, so it’s exactly how we play live, full of light and shade and a huge importance given to melody lines and supporting parts.”
While no Shetland tour dates are confirmed in support of the album, Reid revealed they hope to visit the isles next year as part of a new project.
The musician and her sister Bethany meanwhile will cast their eyes back home with added interest in the coming weeks as the Fiddle Frenzy festival opens in late July.
The siblings curated the event for three years from 2013 before passing on the baton to Eunice Henderson and Claire White.
“Curating Fiddle Frenzy was an absolute honour,” Jenna reflected. “It was thrilling, nerve wracking, exhausting and exciting all at the same time.
“Hats off to Lynda Anderson and Gwilym Gibbons whom we worked with. People make projects, and this was no exception.”
Any tips for the new curators? “For Claire and Eunice, there’s no advice needed. They’re two wonderfully talented and intelligent people. It’ll be a hit.”
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