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Entertainment / Songwriting festival set for September

Rachel Sermanni.

A NEW songwriting festival is set to take place in Shetland later this year, with workshops from two well-known Scottish musicians on the schedule.

The Shetland Songwriting Festival will be held at The String in Lerwick between 20-22 September, with Rachel Sermanni and Admiral Fallow’s Louis Abbott to hold classes.

The weekend, which has been organised by Shetland based singer-songwriter Jenny Sturgeon, will kick off with Sermanni and Abbott performing a public concert at The String on the Friday night.

Louis Abbott.

On the Saturday and Sunday participants will take part in a total of four workshops, with lunch and dinner provided at The String.

The following day a ‘sharing session’ will be held at night to round off the festival.

The workshops are open to anyone, from beginners to advanced songwriters, and you do not need an instrument to take part.

Workshops will focus on the ‘tools’ of songwriting, including song structure, lyrics, melody, meter, song subject and collaboration.

Each class is restricted to eight participants and they will rotate between the two tutors.

Both Sermanni and Abbott are well known in Shetland, with the two musicians having performed regularly in the isles.

Highlands singer-songwriter Sermanni has been to Shetland to perform a number of headline shows, as well as a support slot with Mumford & Sons back in 2011.

Abbott’s Admiral Fallow has previously played at the Shetland Folk Festival and at Mareel, but the musician has also performed with other acts like Kris Drever and Roddy Woomble in the isles.

Sturgeon said the idea for the festival first came when she moved to Shetland a couple of years ago and got stuck into the local music circuit.

“I was invited to a house concert which featured several local acts performing their own songs,” she recalled.

“I was blown away by their talent and enthusiasm for self-penned music.

“The aim of the festival is to bring the very best UK songwriters and tutors to Shetland to encourage and nurture the creative energy of this songwriting scene, as well as to encourage others from further afield to visit Shetland and take inspiration from the isles.”

She added that Sermanni and Abbott are both “brilliant songwriters as well as experienced tutors”.

A regular ticket for the songwriting festival costs £285, which includes the Friday concert, 12 hours of workshops, two lunches and two dinners at The String.

The Friday gig will be open to members of the public, with tickets available soon.