Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Club

Get Visiting Artistes

Alan Clark

Well know to Shetland festival audiences as the 'sound man' in the club for many years Alan makes a welcome return this year as a visiting artiste.  Alan also taught many pupils the accordion while he lived in Shetland

Claire Gullan and Martainn Skene

Claire originally from Banchory was taught by Jane Davison and has competed in many competitions including Glenfiddich.  She is accompanied by Martainn Skene on piano

Craig MacCallum Scottish Dance Band

A very young Craig and his band played at the very first Festival in 1988 and at the Town Hall for Lerwick's Up Helly Aa Festival for many years.  There is a strong Shetland connection as Craig's wife, Hazel, hails from Scalloway

David Kennedy Trio

This young trio of David Kennedy (accordion), Maggie Adamson (fiddle) and Steven Todd (piano) are playing at the Festival for the first time although they are no strangers to the event

David Kennedy says:

Having experienced the Shetland festival a couple of times I was delighted to be invited up for a debut appearance as a guest.  Joining myself and forming the rest of the trio we have, the man, the myth, the piano player Steven Todd and local superstar Maggie Adamson on fiddle. The band have been together for a good number of years now broadcasting regularly on BBC's Take the Floor and playing round the world with the Thornhill Scottish Country dancers. Hopefully you can come along and join us for a night, if not, we'll catch you in the Islesburgh for a beer!   

Ewen Rorie and Andrew Dennison

One of Orkney's top fiddle players Ewen is making his first appearance at Shetland Festival accompanied on piano by Andrew Dennison

Ewen Rorie and Andrew Dennison on fiddle and piano are two of Orkney’s finest young traditional players. Growing up in Finstown Ewen began learning fiddle aged 9, firstly at school and then with Jennifer Wrigley. Steeped from a young age in the old recordings that his grandad Owen Tierney from Attic Records has played to him it was obvious from a young age that the music was in his blood. It is no surprise that he has gone on to play a central role within the scene of young folk playing traditional music in Orkney. His ability has allowed him the opportunity to include both teaching and playing at The Reel in Kirkwall and playing in Stromness as part of the West Mainland Strathspey and Reel. For the past two years he has also featured alongside Shetlands own Hjaltibonhoga (did I spell this right) at the Edinburgh Tattoo. His strong and rhythmic playing drives along the soft rolling Orkney melodies with a maturity that belies his young age. It is rare to find a young fiddler with such a truly traditional sound, a deep understanding and respect of the old Orkney players plus the technical ability to match. Ewen’s childhood friend Andrew is one of three musical siblings and learnt to play accordion from Iain Lowthian at the Orkney Traditional Music Project, age 9. Over time his keenness for chords naturally progressed into an interest for piano accompaniment, with Jean Leonard teaching him the very basics. Being at the forefront of the young players in Orkney gave him the opportunity to develop his ear and learn from local players, picking up chords from Ewen's Granddad, Owen at the sessions at The Reel. His other influences include Hazel Wrigley, Steven Flett, Margaret Robertson, Tom Orr, Craig Paton, and many others. Now in high demand locally as an accompanist, he has recently become an assistant tutor at the Orkney Traditional Music Project and the accompanist for the West Mainland Strathspey and Reel, playing along with them at concerts and with other performers including Eric Linklater at the Orkney Folk Festival. What more can an Orkney fiddler ask for but subtle Orcadian style accompaniment, care and commitment to the melody, and a rock solid steady pair of hands. (by Jennifer Wrigley)

Gavin Piper and Callum Wallace

Gavin plays a variety of music including ceilidh, trad, modern, classical and continental. Callum, who also plays guitar and sings will accompany Gavin on drums 

Gavin previously a guest twice, playing 5 row Bugari accordion (midied).  Also known for playing the bagpipes/keyboard.  Ex grade 3 World Champion on bagpipes and also youngest pipe master in the world at one time.

Callum ex Lomond Ceilidh Band – now full time solo playing drums. Regularly on TV and radio with various artistes.

George Davidson

From Traves in Aberdeenshire this is Geroge's first time to Shetland.  He has won many competitions over the years including the last ever Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship in 2015

George Davidson says:

I am from Tarves in Aberdeenshire, and I started playing violin at 9 years old through school under Judi Nicholson (Judi Davidson). I soon developed a keen interest in playing traditional fiddle and after 8 months of playing, I was entered by my teacher into my first competition at the Banchory strathspey and reel festival, in which I was placed second. 

Upon moving to secondary school at Meldrum Academy, I continued to be taught classical violin by Karen Harper, and achieved my grade 8 in November 2013. I also studied music as a subject, gaining an A at advanced higher in my final year of school (2014). During this time, I continued to increase my interest in traditional fiddle and competitions under the tuition and encouragement of Paul Anderson.

I have competed all over Scotland, with Junior success at various festivals such as Perth, Banchory, Oban, Aboyne, Kirriemuir and the NAAFC Mussleburgh. My first senior competition was the open class at Oban in 2012 at 15 years old, in which I was placed first and received an invite to the Masters competition the following year. Since then, I have enjoyed senior success at the same range of festivals, and the highlight of my journey so far has been winning the last ever Glenfiddich Fiddle championship in 2015. 

I have, along with my younger brother Stuart, performed alongside Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain on numerous occasions. 

I currently work full time as an electrician for SSE, in my final year of my apprenticeship, and this is my first time in Shetland!

Gibb Brothers

Andrew and Adam Gibb were pupils of Keith Dickson and have since performed throughout the Scottish music scene with various bands and have taken part in several 'Take the Floor' broadcasts

Gibb Brothers

Brothers Andrew and Adam began their musical careers under the tuition of Keith Dickson and have since performed throughout the Scottish music scene individually and with various bands. Accolades between them include numerous competition successes and several Take the Floor broadcasts in recent years. The duo promise to keep festival goers entertained with a variety of tunes and styles mainly on accordion and piano with a wee surprise or two thrown into the mix!

Graeme Mackay

Son of Band leader Jim Mackay.  He has been resident accordion player at the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore for the last three years and has recently taken up teaching the button box

Graeme Mitchell Scottish Dance Band

The band was formed in 1982 and, apart from Graeme, two members, Brian Cruickshank and Gordon Duguid are still in the band today.  Graeme and the band played at the first festival in 1988

Graham Mitchell Scottish Dance Band 

Graeme Mitchell came to Shetland first, in the mid 1970s where he spent many an informal music session in the company of Ronnie Cooper and Drewy Hawick. Drewy acted very much as a chauffeur/guide and general provider of all historical knowledge necessary, when visiting the islands for the first time. Ronnie knew the places where you were assured of a nice welcome, a refreshment and a good piano. Ronnie’s unobtrusive style of accompaniment and musical tastes were to become a great source of inspiration to Graeme.  Both he and Ronnie had a common respect for the playing of Bobby Macleod.

Graeme formed his band in 1982 after graduating as a school teacher and two of these members, Brian Cruickshank and Gordon Duguid are still in the band today.  In the 34 years, quite a lot of change has been witnessed, but Graeme continues to follow the musical thinking that seemed so natural for him, at the time he was having informal tunes with the likes of Ronnie Cooper.

The band in the 30+ years have played all over Scotland, and have covered the whole spectrum of gigs available for such a band – dances, ceilidhs, weddings, accordion clubs, broadcasts, LPS, DVD, tapes, CDs, television, stage shows and foreign trips.  Having done all that, Graeme is of the opinion that there is nothing better, than sitting down and playing for a good going dancing crowd in a good hall. The band is very much looking forward to doing just that in Shetland and renewing acquaintances with old friends.  It is also working noting that Graeme and the band played at the very first Shetland Festival in 1988.

Iain MacPhail Scottish Dance Band

One of the best known and respected bands in the Scottish Dance Music scene.  Iain has made numerous visits to Shetland both on his own and with the band

Jan Arild's Orkester

From Mid Norway, making their first visit to the Shetland Festival the group consisting of 3 accordions, fiddle, guitar and bass play Norwegian traditional music

Jim Gold Trio

The band consisting of Jim Gold, Tom Gold and Ross Anderson was formed in 2005 and now play for ceilidhs and weddings all over Scotland.  This will be their fourth visit to the Shetland Festival

John Daly and Patrick O'Loughlin

No stranger to Shetland Festivals John is one of Ireland's top fiddle players and now lives in Co Tipperary close to his native Cork.  John and Patrick have played various venues in Dublin and more recently in Co. Clare at the Clancy Summer School in Milltown Malbay as well as the annual Feakle traditional music week in Feakle, Co. Clare.

He is accompanied by Patrick O'Loughlin, one of Ireland's finest young accordion players.  He plays both the B/C and C#/D system of accordion.  He comes from Batterstown County Meath which is a short distance outside Dublin.

Patrick first got his interest in music from listening to recordings of Irish traditional music at home which had been collected by his parents.  Patrick has been playing Irish music since a young age having first learned accordion from the tuition of Sligo bos player John Regan.

This is his first trip to the Shetland Islands which he has informed us he is really looking forward to.

He attends traditional Irish music festivals throughout Ireland and can regularly be found playing sessions in County Clare where his father comes from.

Manus McGuire and Emily Flack

Born in Co Sligo but living in Co Clare, Manus is no stranger to the Shetland Festival and performed the opening ceremony some years ago.  He is joined on this visit by Emily Flack from Ontario

Neil MacEachern Scottish Dance Band

Neil formed his band in 1987 after playing with many other bands.  The band has done many broadcasts and commercial recordings in its distinctive west coast style

Neil Maceachern Scottish Dance Band

The Band has been together for 30 year, with a few changes along the way. Between us we have travelled worldwide but now we rarely venture more than an hour or so from the central belt.

Neil formed the band in 1987 after playing with many other bands before that. He has led the band in many broadcast and commercial recordings since then. Neil has a distinctive traditional west coast sound which we strive to maintain.

As well as many broadcasts and recordings, Angela won both Junior and Senior Golden Fiddle Awards. She now has teaches both classical violin and Scottish fiddle, and has adjudicated many competitions including Shetland’s Young Fiddler.

Steven Beattie is the son of one of Scotland’s most respected button box players, Wattie Beattie. He is equally at home with kit drumming as he is with Scottish, and he is very accomplished on both.

Tom Murray is usually playing keyboards with the band, but is playing second box on this occasion. He has been in a great many broadcasts with many bands in his musical career, and is a much sought after musician in the Scottish scene.

This year we have enlisted our pals Duncan Findlay and Dennis Morrison to add to the sound.

Dennis Morrison has a wealth of experience behind him and is equally respected on both piano and accordion. He has numerous performances, recordings and broadcasts to his credit. His impeccable musicianship has kept him busy.

Duncan Findlay needs no introduction, he has played with many Scottish bands in his nearly 50 year career, but also is equally at home playing classical, modern and jazz on guitar, bass, banjo and drums. This has ensured a successful musical career.

Niall Kirkpatrick Trio

Niall, who lives in Islay has attended previous festivals with this own band.  This time he is accompanied by John Burns and Alan Sutherland, both well know in Shetland

Paul Anderson and Brian Nicholson

Already something of a legend in the time honoured fiddle tradition of Scotland, Paul is one of the finest Scots fiddlers of his generation.  He has attended the Shetland Festival on many occasions

Pentlands Ceilidh Band

The band has been playing at concerts and ceilidhs all over Scotland as well as many Up Helly Aa nights for over 25 years.  The line up is now Derek Rae, Colin Brown and Gary Kellow playing piano accordion, 5 row accordion and drums

The Pentlands Ceilidh Band have been playing at Festivals, Concerts and Ceilidhs all over Scotland for over 25 years as well as Caledonian Society balls in Kuwait, Ceilidhs in Syria and Germany and have appeared on 'Take the Floor' BBC Radio Scotland on several occasions. The band released their first album “Just Four Ewes” in 2009 and have finished recording another album “Getting Jiggy” which was released earlier this year. Their music is a mix of Scottish and Irish Traditional and Contemporary, with tight arrangements played in their own individual style.

Richard Ross Trio

Well known as the lead accordionist with the West Telferton Band Richard is joined by Jim Nichol on piano and Ian Adamson on drums for this visit to Shetland

Robert Whitehead

Robert has kindly agreed to stand in for an act that unfortunately is no longer able to attend the Festival.  

Robert is a 'weel-kent' face at the Festival, whether playing with his band or in sessions or generally enjoying the weekend.  Robert comes up every year and does a sterling job of transporting all the visiting musicians' instruments from the mainland.  

Looking forward to hearing him perform as a solo act this year, accompanied by Andy Kain.

Tom Byrne and Michael Gallanagh

Tom plays button accordion and chromatic and diatronic harmonica.  Michael is regarded as one of the more innovative guitarists in the traditional music scene in Ireland

Tom Byrne & Michael Gallanagh

Tom plays button accordion, chromatic and diatonic harmonica. Traditional Irish music is his main interest although he also plays classical, jazz, blues, French Musette and lately has even been exploring the distinctive rhythms of the music of the Balkans. Much of his time now is given to composition and song writing ; he is currently writing a musical with the modern composer John McLachlan. He is also prolific in his composition of traditional tunes and music of many genres particularly with a focus on improvisation. In 2016 Tom received two major music awards:

The 2016 Liveireland Male Musician of the Year Award’ and ‘Top Tradition in Review Awards Male Musician of the Year 2016.’ Chicago Irish American News…… ‘from the first notes of Tom Byrne’s self titled album you are stunned. You are in the presence of a master musician and you may well have never heard anything like this before. It is not enough to say that Tom Byrne plays the harmonica. He is the Paganini of the harmonica.’

This is Tom’s fourth visit to the Shetlands and he is absolutely  thrilled to return once again  to meet old friends and to be inspired by the incredible musical tradition of this famous area. Tom’s late father Paddy was, like Tom, a huge admirer of the music of Shetland and the music and playing of Willy Hunter in particular. Tom is delighted to be accompanied this year on guitar by Michael Gallanaghwith whom he played with in the group ‘Dalltach’ who made a big impression in the festival in Shetland a number of years ago.

Michael is from Buncrana in Inishowen and is regarded as  one of the most innovative and dynamic guitarists currently in traditional music in Ireland. Furthermore his unique versions of old Irish songs in particular, have earned him the respect of music lovers far and wide. Appearing in concerts with Phil Coulter and Joseph Locke in the Plaza Ballroom in Buncrana, he later became a founder member of the Buncrana based legendary band, The Pyros. Michael is also heavily influenced  by  bluegrass which features largely in his repertoire and he was a guest musician on a Disney Bluegrass CD  recorded a number of years ago. He lived for many years in London and in Paris playing with many of the leading musicians, his great style and technique  attracting the attention of the virtuoso fiddler Sean McGuirewith whom he played in concert. Now back living in Buncrana he enjoys music sessions with many local musicians including Roisin McGrorySeamus Maguire and Liz Doherty. For many years he played with Dinny McLaughlin and Tom Byrne in the popular group Shandrum. Over the years he has toured extensively making numerous appearances on tv and radio. Michael has a lifelong passion for music which is clearly evident in his collaborative work and particularly in his powerful  performances in session and on stage. He is delighted and honoured to return again to the festival now in its 30th Year having previously performed as a member of the  group Dalltach which also included Matt McGranaghan, Michael Carey and Tom Byrne.   

Tom Orr Band

Tom is one of the brightest and leading exponents of Scottish Dance band music bringing a youthful approach to our music. The Band creates lively, innovative, unique style

Wayne Robertson Scottish Dance Band

Wayne and his Scottish Dance Band are highly regarded in Scotland and beyond.  The band offers a highly diverse repertoire suitable for concerts, dances and reel parties