Entertainment / Cortese and band due back in the isles for two concerts

SHETLAND Folk Festival favourites Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards are back in the islands for two shows this month. 

The quartet, who went down a storm both during their 2016 festival slot and on two subsequent visits, are returning to perform at the new Hymhus venue in the former Bigton Kirk on Sunday 14 August.


The following night they will play at Mareel in Lerwick.

Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards’ second album Bitter Better was composed in Cortese’s home in Ghent, Belgium, where she now lives with her partner and fellow musician Bert Ruymbeek.

The two Shetland shows are part of a wider UK tour in support of the album, which was released during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Laura said: “When it seemed like we might never tour again we thought ‘well, at least we’ve been to Shetland!’ It feels fitting that after so long at home we are headed back to Shetland on our first UK tour since 2019.


“Our song When We Rocked is about taking the boat home after the festival. A first trip to Shetland, and it turns out a second and third, is what dreams are made of.”

There will be local support in Bigton from Jen & Friends and 4AI, while Quarff-based singer-songwriter Freda Leask and her band will open the Mareel show.

Neil Riddell of local promoters Ragged Wood said: “It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Laura and her band of brilliant musicians back to Shetland.

“We’re really excited to be using the Hymhus venue for the first time and we’re hugely thankful to the Bigton Collective, and in particular to Alice and Jonathan Ritch and Mary Andreas for all their support in making the show happen.

“It continues to be a very challenging time for touring artists, and we would encourage anyone who loves American roots music to come out and support these two concerts.”

Tickets for the Hymhus show are available online at the little box office. Tickets for the Mareel show are on sale through the Shetland Arts box office.