Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Club

2010 Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival

Visiting Artists to the 2010 Festival

Alasdair MacLeod Trio

Alasdair, after playing second accordion for 13 years with Colin Dewar, Ian Hutson, Donald MacLeod and various other bands, he then decided to branch out and take the role as a lead accordion player.  He did his first Take the Floor broadcast in 2009.  He is performing here as a trio with Ian Anderson and Pauline Irvine.

Alistair McCulloch

Former national fiddle champion and music graduate, Alistair McCulloch is one of the busiest and best known fiddlers in Scotland and is in constant demand as a performer, teacher, adjudicator and composer. He recently released his 3rd solo album to critical acclaim. Alistair leads the band Coila and produced the band’s most recent release “The Complete Ceilidh” On this visit to Shetland he is accompanied on piano by Graham Berry.

Brothers Zamiskovci

This very talented band from the Tatra Mountain area of Northern Slovakia near the Polish border, play and sing very lively and beautiful music. Their extensive repertoire includes music from all over Europe. After two very successful appearances at the Shetland Folk Festival and once at the Orkney Folk Festival as well as a tour around Scotland in November 2007. They were back in Shetland for the 2010 Lerwick Up Helly Aa and a Short Shetland Tour which got excellent reviews.

The band had an excellent time at the Lerwick Up Helly Aa following around Squad 26 for the whole evening as squad musicians. Many late nights were spent during their week up in Shetland, which included various sessions in the Lounge Bar, The Marlex and Da Noost. Their last concert was held in the Cunningsburgh Hall - which included a superb 3 course meal then a spectacular final night's entertainment provided by the Brothers Zamiskovci with support from Leeshinat.

Charlie Kirkpatrick Trio

Charlie, originally from Iona, is no stranger to Shetland audiences having appeared several times over the years both as a musician and compere.  He is accompanied by Derek Hamilton on keyboard and Richard Hughes from Tobermory on drums – a good West Coast sound!


Gary Donaldson Ceilidh Band

Gary plays at all types of functions and has done two Take the Floor broadcasts with a different line-up.  The line for this festival is Keith Dickson (piano), Gordon Smith (drums), and Russell Hunter (fiddle) – all highly respected players. 

Gary Sutherland Ceilidh Band

Gary is a twice Scottish Accordion Champion and is joined in the band by his brother Alan on drums, Graham Berry on piano and Willie Johnstone on fiddle.  The band formed about 5 years ago and have broadcast on ‘Take the Floor’ and released two successful cds.

Graham MacKenzie

Graham has been playing the fiddle for 12 years and is currently studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.  He has won many prestigious competitions throughout Scotland and has had the privilege to play alongside some fantastic musicians including Mike McGoldrick, Julie Fowlis and Aidan O’Rourke.  Graham was the youngest ever winner of the Danny Kyle Open Stage at Celtic Connections and has featured at Celtic Connections, Blas, the Fiddle Festival and International Eisteddfod in Wales.

Iain Angus MacLeod Trio

Iain Angus is an accomplished young accordionist with several awards including first in the National Mod for March Strathspey and reel, 3 firsts at the Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival in Oban.  He was presented with the Neil Martin Trophy for bringing recognition to the Island of Harris.  His band also played for KT Tunstall’s wedding!  He states his greatest achievement to date as playing live as the resident home band for the National Mod on radio.  He is joined by Alexander MacPherson on drums and Iain Macdonald on 2nd box.

Ian Thomson Scottish Dance Band

Members - Ian Thomson, Ann Thomson, Mark Cummine, Carol Anderson, Graham Sherrit

Formed originally in 1989, the band won the band section at the Perth Festival the same year.  They made their debut on ‘Take the Floor’ in January 1990 with their latest broadcast from Inverurie in April of this year marking 20 years of broadcasting.

John Daly

John Daly, having spent 11 years in the USA is now living and working back in Ireland where he continues to play and teach the fiddle. Since his last visit to Shetland he has been responsible for the publication of two historically important albums in Irish traditional music. Both albums, 'Classic Recordings of Paddy Reynolds', (a solo album of Paddy Reynolds from County Longford in Ireland who spent half a century playing and teaching in Staten Island, New York) and 'A Tribute to Andy McGann' (honoring the music of Andy who was born and lived in New York having been taught briefly by the great Michael Coleman), came out while John was still in Chicago. Though both since deceased, these two musicians will always remain important figures in the history Irish music in America from the mid-1940's through to the mid 2000's. John is currently working on his own second album on which he will be accompanied by Josephine Keegan on piano.  Josephine's prowess and stature in Irish music needs little introduction in Shetland where she has been known and respected since the 1950s.  Since Josephine's last visit to Shetland she has been quite busy too.  A prolific composer as we all know, Josephine added volume 3 to 'The Keegan Tunes' earlier this year, and in 2009 'The Sweets of May', was published by Ceol Camlough with Josephine as music director, chronicling the music and dance of South Armagh during the ceili-band era. Josephine and John have played together in New York and Chicago in recent years and have done a number of concerts since John's return to Ireland.  They are looking forward to playing for you this year and to bringing you their new CD together before next year's festival!

Knerten and Co

Knerten & Co is a Norwegian folk music band with five musicians with long and varied backgrounds from other bands. The band was formed two years ago and has already distinguished themselves positively in several festivals in Norway and Sweden. They have among other things won 3rd place at Storefjell (a big competition for Norwegian folk music bands).

The band plays traditional Norwegian folk music, but with their innovative way of playing they have developed quite a unique style.  All songs are written by Eddy “Knerten” Lyshaug, and the arrangements are made by the band.

Knerten & Co is known for having a lot of humour and energy on stage, and has great audience appeal.  Some feedback they have received so far is “Thank you for existing”, “Folk music needs you to survive”, “Fantastic interaction” and “It's great to see so much energy and enjoyment by Knerten”.

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 fifth Festival. Larry has made many friends in Shetland and has many fans here where his relaxed style is very popular. He is a great admirer of Shetland and its music and on most visits has used an accompanist from the isles.

Matthew MacLennan

Matthew has attended the Festival since 2004 but first officially performed in 2005.  He played second box with Nicky McMichan Scottish Dance Band in 2008.  In 2009 he recorded his debut session on Take the Floor and was overall Champion at the NAAFC Competition in Polmont to add to his numerous wins over the years.  His own band travels all over Scotland playing for all types of functions.  This year he will be joined by Alan Irvine from Livingston on drums.

Neil Caul and Alastair McGirr

Neil Caul from Perth was Scottish Champion in 1985 and Musselburgh Open Pipe Section winner.  As a band member he has broadcast and recorded with Bill Black, Robert Black, Jim Johnstone, Jimmy Shand Jnr, Nicol McLaren, Alan Gardner, Ian Hutson and Duncan Black.  Joining Neil on piano is Alastair McGirr who has broadcast with Jack Delaney and Colin Dewar.  He collaborated with Ian McPhail and Jimmy Shand Jnr on recordings and most recently on Andrew Rankine Tribute cd with Ian McPhail and Jack Delaney.


Nicky McMichan

Nicky started playing the accordion at age 9.  He also plays drums and keyboard.  Nicky has broadcast on Take the Floor since 2001.  He is a graduate of RSAMD in Scottish Music and has only missed one Shetland Festival since 2000.  Joining Nicky on this occasion is Neil MacGregor who started learning the box and drums at the age of 9.  He began playing with his Dad Logan in Caithness and now plays with the local Big Band and Blues Band.  Neil first visit to Shetland was in 2008 when he attended the Shetland Blues Festival.

Roya MacLean

Roya is an accordionist from Muir of Ord, Ross-Shire whose musical style has been described as being full of energy, sensitivity and flair.  She is a former pupil of Fèis Rois and Sgoil Chiuil na Gàidheattachd in Plockton and is now studying Gaelic and Music at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye.  Although still at college, Roya released her second album ‘Blackwater (An t-Alltan Dubh)’ last year.  At this year’s Festival she will be joined by fiddler Coralea McKay.

Stella Wilkie and Joan Blue

Stella is no stranger to Shetland having played at the first 10 Festivals.  She enjoys solo and band work.  Over the years she has played with many great bands musicians including Jimmy Blue and Bobby Crowe and for the last 10 years she has played with her brother Kevin Clark in the Craigowl Dance Band.

Stella has played solo fiddle accompanied by Joan Blue for the last 5 years.  They both derive and give great pleasure through playing for ‘Music in Hospitals,’ a charity which brings live music to residents of care homes, hospitals and hospices.

Joan Blue has been playing the piano since the age of ten.  At fourteen, she was playing for three Scottish country dance classes each week and at fifteen was in her first dance band.  She has broadcast and made records with various Scottish musicians and, of course, it was through music that Joan met her husband, the late Jimmy Blue.

 Joan has accompanied many of the great Scottish fiddlers including Ron Gonella, Ian Powrie and Angus Fitchet.  She is greatly in demand as an accompanist at various festivals and concerts and also has a Scottish fiddle group at a Perthshire school.

Steven Carcary Scottish Dance Band

Members - Steven Carcary, Graham Bell, Brian Cruickshank, Bill Ewan, Alisha Smeaton

Steven Carcary has been broadcasting since the early 90s.  The band members joining Steven at this year’s festival are Graham Bell on 2nd accordion, Brian Cruickshank on fiddle, Bill Ewan on keyboard and making her debut to the festival, young Alisha Smeaton on drums.  Steven and the band are kept busy playing for dances and accordion clubs all over Scotland.

Susan MacFadyen Trio

This trio was formed 7 years ago to guest at the Dingwall Accordion and Fiddle Club.  Since then the trio has grown in strength, playing at festivals and functions all over the country.  Susan and her band have done 3 ‘Take the Floor’ broadcasts.  The trio comprises Susan on lead accordion, her sister Shona on fiddle and Heather Fraser on drums.


The Alistair Wood Scottish Dance Band

Members - Alistair Wood, George Gray, Graeme Munro, Shona Flockhart, Andrew Knight

The band has been operating for many years and has played at many major functions throughout Scotland including the Conservative Party Conference when the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband danced to the band. The band has played all around the world including the Far East, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They have played many times on 'Take the Floor' and have made three albums for the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

The Burns Brothers Ceilidh Band

Members - John Burns, George Burns, Graham Crichton, Neil Ferguson, Tom Orr, Mark McDougall

Although this is only the second time at the Festival as a band, the Burns Brothers are no strangers to the Shetland.  They have recorded 3 broadcasts as a band on ‘Take the Floor’.  The core of the band has been together for 12 years.  John and George have both won several prizes at competitions and festivals over the years.

The Coisle Ceoil Group


PHILIP CLARKE - Philip Clarke was born and reared on the shores of Lough Sheelin beside the town of Kilnaleck in Co. Cavan. He always had a keen interest in all aspects of Irish culture. His father played the fiddle and Philip took a keen interest in music from an early age. He got his first 12 bass Piano Accordion at fourteen years of age and soon began to play tunes with the local musicians. He later took up playing the piano and has a particular interest in piano accompaniment. As a Primary School Principal he ensures that music plays a major part in school activity. He formed the Breffni Ceili Band to cater for young musicians and, 22 years later; it has developed so extensively that it has bands now exist at under 12, 12-15, 15-18 and senior levels. Many of these bands have won county, provincial and All Ireland accolades and featured on National Radio. Philip has played in many Ceili Bands including The Four Provinces, The Carrick Ceili Band and The Congress Ceili Band. He has adjudicated at Fleadhanna Cheoil at all stages ranging from county to All Ireland level and has featured extensively on local and national media. He has received many awards including Cavan Person of the Year and various Comhaltas accolades.  With Philip is Noel Battle (harmonica), Joe Meechan (guitar), Olive Kilbane (fiddle) – see below.

Noel Battle - Noel Battle from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath is one of Ireland’s finest harmonica players. He took a keen interest in the instrument from a young age and was deeply influenced by the playing of Mick Conroy.  Noel won his first all Ireland title in 1957 and is now rated as one of Ireland’s best.  The harmonica, more popularly known as the mouth organ, got left behind in the Irish music revival of the late 1950s. Noel soon changed all that as his music spread in popularity on radio and TV.  There are few CDs which feature Irish Traditional Music played on the Mouth Organ and none better than Noel’s latest Music from the Reeds. Noel, 12 times All-Ireland Champion, gives a truly masterful and breathtaking performance, aided and abetted by Brian McGrath on Piano & Keyboards, Shauna Davey on Harp and Joe Meehan on Guitar. Noel continues to teach and promote music at all levels and is a stalwart member of Mullingar Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

Joe Meehan - Joe Meehan is, without doubt, one of the most accomplished guitarists in Ireland. He plays professionally and has released two albums of traditional Irish music featuring his very tasteful guitar style.  His skilful accompaniment creates a memorable experience for the listener.  Joe also plays mandolin and is in constant demand in recording studios throughout Europe.  Apart from his skills as a traditional musician Joe has played with many bands including the Joe Dolan Band. He has featured on numerous CDs, one of the most recent being Music from the Reeds  featuring Noel Battle on Mouth Organ. He continues to play and promote the music and is actively involved at all levels

Olive Kilbane - Olive Kilbane hails from Portumna in south east Galway, an area steeped in the tradition of Irish music.  At a very early age she expressed an interest in playing the fiddle, and has had many successes throughout her life; she won at numerous Fleadhanna Cheoil and Feiseanna, including five senior Connaught fiddle championship and various accolades in All Ireland senior fiddle competition, Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas na Gaeilge, Dublin. She has featured on Irish radio and television. She also entertained for a couple of seasons at the Shannon castles Bunratty and Dunguaire.  She toured and recorded with the Irish folk group Na Fianna for a number of years and, in later years, performed with the Four Provinces Ceili Band led by Philip Clarke, the highlight of which was a week’s performance at the Irish Festival in Chicago.  She is currently working on a solo album.

Theresa Cavanagh

A welcome return for Theresa who appeared last in 2007 when she made her second appearance at a Shetland Festival. She is a great exponet of the Donegal style of fiddle playing and since her first appearance has released a solo fiddle album. She has performed at Celtic Connections as well as many other festivals throughout Europe.

Tom Byrne and The Henry Girls

Tom Byrne grew up in England but with his roots in Donegal has been living in Inishowen since the early Nineties. He was immersed in music from boyhood while under the influence of his late father Paddy, who was a fiddler and composer from Malin in Inishowen. He plays button accordion and chromatic and diatonic harmonicas and he is in constant demand as a performer in concerts with numerous radio and tv broadcasts  His repertoire extends to many styles including jazz, classical and blues. The legendary fiddlers, Sean McGuire, Jean Carignan and Shetland’s own Willie Hunter were all major influences on Tom’s development as a musician. Rhythm, swing, tone, precision and variation are his hallmarks as he performs some of the most challenging and beautiful tunes in the traditional repertoire. His passion for music are most notable in his rendition of slow airs such as ‘Macushla’, in his own composition,  ‘Caoineadh na Neacht –Chiontach  (the Cry Of the Innocent) and his late father’s beautiful melody, ‘The Sliabh Ban Waltz’. Since the release of his debut album last year ‘Tom Byrne’, Tom’s reputation as a musician has been gathering momentum. Tom’s astounding ability on chromatic and diatonic harmonica continues to establish his status as a virtuoso performer as he explores the incredible musical possibilities of the harmonica. Produced by legendary fiddle maestro Frankie Gavin, the album features Frankie with Carl Hession on piano, Paul O’Driscoll on double bass and Laurence Doherty on snare drum. Visiting Shetland in 2008 with the group Dalltach, Tom looks forward to returning in collaboration with the fabulous group The Henry Girls - Joleen, Lorna and Karen McLaughlin - are three sisters from Inishowen in Co. Donegal, Ireland and in 2001 they formed their band The Henry Girls. The band’s name comes from the local family nickname, Henry.  Multi - instrumentalists, their music is an eclectic mix of folk, blues and traditional Irish, with “spine-tingling” three part harmonies. They have released 3 albums and their latest album Dawn which was released this year, features music from the award winning movie “A Shine of Rainbows” starring Aidan Quinn and Connie Neilsen. Also in 2010, they were nominated for an IFTA (Irish Film & Television Award) for Best Original Score for their work on the movie.

In addition to their distinctive interpretation of songs and their glorious natural vocal blend which is testament to the collective and individual beauty of the sisters’ voices, the girls all play piano and jointly play a multitude of instruments with Karen playing fiddle and Lorna playing piano accordion and whistle. Joleen, the youngest of the group specialises in harp and piano. Her main instrument is the harp and she is a stunning musician who as well as playing the traditional repertoire, plays jazz and classical music with a most remarkable flair for improvisation. She is one of the most gifted and natural musicians you are ever likely to meet.

Apart from playing and touring constantly with regular broadcasts on tv and radio, the band have written and performed music for TV, theatre and contemporary dance companies. The Henry Girls have collaborated with a diversity of artists on various projects over the years including in the Summer of this year, The Foxhunt from West Virginia.

The Henry Girls are delighted to be appearing in concert in Shetland and along with Tom Byrne look forward to presenting a brilliant programme for discerning Shetland audiences.