Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Club

2008 Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival

Visiting Artists to the 2008 Festival

Colin Dewar

Colin Dewar returns with his band who have played together for 25 years, playing mainly for Scottish Country dancing, they are equally at home playing at Ceilidhs, Weddings, Old Tyme dances, etc. They broadcast regularly on Take the Floor, featured last year on BBC TV’s “Scotland’s Music” programme and have recorded over 16 albums to date.

Craig Paton

Fifteen year old Craig Paton took up the accordion aged nine. A year later he won 2 first positions for Classical and Pipe Music at the NAAFC Musselburgh Festival. Craig retained the title of under 16 champion at the All Scotland Music Festival 2007 and became under 16 champion at the NAAFC Dunblane Festival in 2008. He achieved a hat trick of solo first places at the Highlands and Islands Music Festival 2008.


From Donegal, Dalltach is a new group formed in late 2007. Dalltach, which is Irish for “Dazzling” play an exciting mix of music. Tom Byrne is recognised as one of the leading button-accordion and mouth organ players in Irish music. Michael Carey is an 8 times All Ireland Champion tin whistle player. Michael Gallanagh is one of the most innovative and dynamic guitarists in traditional music. Matt McGranaghan really needs no introduction in Shetland, a top class fiddle player with a style and enthusiasm all of his own.

Dean Warner & Kavan Donohoe

Originally from Leeds, Dean now lives in Lurgan, Co Armagh, N Ireland and was a winner of the All-Ireland Fleadh Championship on the piano accordion in 2005. He has recently toured America and Europe with the Comhaltas Concert Tour Group. Performing with Dean is Kavan Donohoe, a 16 year old harper (harpist) from Cavan Town, Co Cavan. Kavan started to play traditional music on the harp at the age of 7.

Duncan Black Scottish Dance Band

The Duncan Black Band performed in the Edinburgh Scottish Show for 4 years. Duncan is a past Scottish accordion champion. Band members are Billy Thom - top Scottish/Jazz drummer, Billy Craib – who played with Jim Johnstone Band for many years with a wealth of experience, Owen Fielding – much in demand as a professional musician and Christine Black – Glenfiddich finalist and classically trained violinist.

George Balfour

George Balfour from Friockheim by Arbroath visited Shetland in October 2007 and returns as a guest artiste in 2008. George is a self-taught 3 row player and "none reader of the dots". He is a past winner of the Blairgowrie Senior Scottish open and bronze medal winner of the Perth Senior Scottish Open.

Ian Robertson

Ian Robertson from Buckinghamshire is no stranger to the Festival, having performed a number of times with his band Sound Company, sadly now disbanded. Ian normally leads his new band on accordion and is busy playing for dances and weddings across the South of England and beyond. However, making his first visit to the festival as a solo fiddler he is accompanied by Angela Young, a pianist originally from Aberdeen but living for many years in London.

James Coutts Scottish Dance Band

While all the James Coutts’ band members have attended the festival before many times, this is the first time they have played in a band together. James made his broadcasting debut in 1994 and recorded his debut cd “Not Before Time” in 1999.

Larry Gavin

Larry, the excellent two row button box player who hails from Tulla, Co Claire in Ireland, will make a welcome return in what will be his fourth Shetland Festival.

Liz Doherty

Liz, who hails from Donegal makes a welcome return to the Shetland Festival. She should have been with us last year but had to withdraw unexpectedly at the last minute. We are delighted that she can make it this year. Liz has toured worldwide and has recorded several CDs.

Lynne Christie Trio

Accordionist Lynne Christie accompanied by Duncan Christie and Scott Gordon have played as a group for 10 years. She recorded her first radio broadcast in 2007. This will be Lynne’s 16th visit to the Festival!

Mark Cummine

More often seen performing as a second box player, Mark is a fine accordionist in his own right and on this visit he will take the centre stage as solo performer. Mark has made broadcasts with Bill Black’s Band and currently performs with Ian Thomson Scottish Dance Band.

Martin Donohoe & Pat McManus

Button accordionist Martin Donohoe from County Cavan is a household name throughout the county and is also known in traditional circles countrywide and indeed overseas. With Martin is Pat McManus who is a violinist, guitarist and songwriter from Derrylin Co Fermanagh, where he grew up in a family rich in Irish traditional music. He is an “All Ireland” winner and has many other accomplishments under his belt.

Neil Copland Trio

This trio comprises Neil Copland (accordion), Willie Johnstone (Fiddle)and Mo Rutherford (piano). All members of the group have regularly competed in trio, and band competitions at various festivals over the last 20 years with notable successes at both Perth and Musselburgh Festivals. Neil and Mo regularly lead workshops for musicians in how to play for Scottish Country dancing and have to date done so in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, London and elsewhere across the UK.

Neil Dawson

Having visited the Festival on many occasions, Neil Dawson from Alford, Aberdeenshire returns to perform as a solo fiddler this year. Neil currently plays with the Ian Hutson Scottish Dance Band.

Neil Hardie Trio

Neil is from the Scottish Borders and formed his band 8 years ago. The band has a consistent 4/5 piece line up but at this year’s festival the trio will feature, Neil on accordion, his sister Caroline on fiddle and Jim Nichol on piano/bass. The band has a large following around the Scottish Dance scene and accordion and fiddle clubs at which they have appeared at over 25 as guest artists from the North of England to the North of Scotland.

Niall Kirkpatrick Scottish Ceilidh Band

This West Coast of Scotland Ceilidh band comprising band leader, Niall Kirkpatrick on piano accordion (son of the well known 3-row accordion player band leader Charlie Kirkpatrick), Sileas Sinclair (Keyboard), Archie McAllister (Fiddle), John Burns (2nd accordion) and Steven McInnes (drums) recently aired their third broadcast on Take the Floor.

Nicky McMichan Scottish Dance Band

Regular visitor Nicky McMichan makes a welcome return this time with a full band. Nicky is a graduate of the RSAMD in Glasgow and was the youngest bandleader, at 16, to record a Take the Floor programme. This will be the band’s first visit to Shetland since 2003.

Tom Orr Scottish Dance Band

The band was first formed around 2002 to compete at the National Association’s Musselburgh Festival where they came out on top at the first attempt. In 2003 they made their debut broadcast for the BBC. The band was recently nominated for the Scottish dance band of the year at the Scot’s Trad Music Awards. Tom and the band have recently recorded their debut album which will be available to buy at this year’s Festival.

Tony O'Donnell

Fiddler Tony O'Donnell's love for music started when he was very young in his native Donegal. His first fiddle which he played on for many years was made of tin. In his teenage years he was encouraged to play the saxophone and clarinet both of which he still teaches in schools. He emigrated to America when he was 21 where he continued his career playing with all kinds of bands until 1960 when he returned to Donegal.

Wenche & Terje's Group

Making a welcome return to the Festival, are accordionists Wenche Karlsen and Terje Martinsen. Playing Norwegian Folk Music with a modern touch, they are joined by Per Bresdesen on bass and Gunnar Gundersen on guitar who complete the group.

Willie Johnstone

As well as featuring with the Neil Copland Trio, Willie will also be performing as a solo fiddler. Willie’s first of many visits to the Festival was in 2002 with the Ian Thomson Scottish Dance Band. Now living in Jersey, Willie continues as a member of the Michael Philip Scottish Dance Band, the Gary Sutherland Ceilidh Band and the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra.