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Community / Special treat for folk festival punters as Hjaltibonhoga return with Celebrating Sail show

Group of violinists in matching outfits performing on stage.

SHETLAND’s ultimate super group Hjaltibonhoga will take to the stage once again for a specially curated showcase as part of this year’s Shetland Folk Festival.

Featuring over 40 fiddlers (from Shetland to New Zealand), Celebrating Sail tells the story of Shetland’s history, culture and music spanning traditional, classical, rock and country and western genres featuring solos from Annalie Irvine, Ross Couper and Margaret Robertson.

The backline stars some of the finest players from across local music scene, including David Sjoberg, Adam Priest, Sophie Wishart, Norman Goudie and Renzo Spiteri.

The performance as part of the festival’s Saturday programme at Clickimin will mark the 10th anniversary of the inception of Hjaltibonhoga – the community band who annually provide fiddlers at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

It will be the second time for Shetland audiences to see the commission after it opened the Lerwick Tall Ships event last July.  Group leader Margaret R

Group leader Margaret Robertson (left) with some of the music=ians on stage. Photos: Shetland Folk Festival

obertson was originally commissioned to write the piece by Tim Matthew on behalf of Tall Ships Shetland.

She feels the performance celebrates Shetland’s musicianship and the strength of appeal of traditional music locally, nationally and internationally.

“This is the most interesting and rewarding commission I have written to date with its intentions to explore the different genres that ensure Shetland’s music is a living, breathing, developing culture,” she said.

“Having worked with Harris Playfair in the past, he was the obvious choice to have develop the arrangements and add his own musical twists to the originals!

“On a personal note, it is really special to share the stage with my three children in this performance.”

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The folk festival’s director of programming Mhari McLeman says providing a platform for music fans to see the commission was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“The committee felt that many local and visiting audience members may not have had the chance to see Celebrating Sail the first time round,” she said.

“The celebration of Shetland’s diverse musical heritage completely chimes with what we want to do each year at the festival and we love the variety of musicians and genres represented onstage – it really represents the music scene and the weekend overall.

“It’s going to be truly special to see it come together on the night and we are so grateful to Margaret and the Hjaltibonhoga team for helping make this possible.”

Celebrating Sail will open the festival’s Clickimin concert on Saturday 4 May.

Tickets for this concert and some others are still available here


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