The Alan Crookston Band have been together since 2013 and have gone on to record 6 BBC radio broadcasts and release 2 albums since then. This will be the band’s first time back in Shetland since 2015. The line up has stayed pretty much the same the whole time but a few changes on this visit. Alan brings a very experienced band to this year’s festival Gary Sutherland on 2nd accordion, Alistair McCulloch on fiddle, Duncan Black on piano and Alan Irvine on drums. Alan has previously been in Shetland twice before with the Reel Thing Ceilidh Band in years gone by.
Burns Brothers Ceilidh Band
The band, as a 6 piece, have been playing together since their first Take The Floor broadcast in 2007 and have gone on to record many more broadcasts and an album. The band is busy playing, more normally, as a 3 or 4 piece at ceilidhs and weddings etc. around the country. This will be the band's 3rd time at the festival having previously been in 2004 and 2010.
Due to circumstances the band have had to make some personnel changes on this occasion but have some very talented musicians as stand ins.
Steven Carcary Scottish Dance Band
Steven needs no introduction not only as a Band Leader but a well-respected accordian turor in Tayside and Perthshire. The line-up of the band consists of Steven on lead accordian, Graham Bell on second accordion, Gillian Ramsay on fiddle, Lindsay Downie on fiddle, Bill Ewan on keyboard, and Graham Sherrit on Drums. Steven has been broadcasting since 1992, originally as the Strathmore Sound, but for the last 21 years, as the Steven Carcary Scottish Dance Band. Steven, from Bridge of Earn, is a full time musician and accordion tutor and is kept busy playing at dances and accordion clubs all over the country. The band are looking forward to a return visit to this year's festival.
Jim Gold Band
Originally formed around 2000 and known then as the “Black Douglas” after the village we are from and also the legendary Scottish knight, we cut our teeth playing at small gigs with another local lad on piano. Around 2002 we met up with our current drummer Ross and a couple of other boys from the group KODA which we were all involved in and went through the competition scene together enjoying some success. We now play at functions across Scotland and are joined by Steven Todd on piano and Adam Gibb on 2nd box. After a dry couple of years on the gig front it’s great to be back playing and we are really looking forward to playing at the festival once again!
Susan MacFadyen Scottish Dance Band
The band was first formed in 2003, to compete at the NAAFC festival in Musselburgh and undertook the first official engagement as guest artist at the Dingwall Accordion & Fiddle Club. Since then the band has recorded numerous BBC Radio Scotland Take the Floor broadcasts, the most recent being back in June of this year. The band won Scottish Dance Band of the year at the 2018 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards and performed at the awards in 2019. The band plays regularly at functions all over Scotland and even venture into England and Europe to perform. The band line up for the festival this year is the MacFadyen sisters: Susan (lead accordion) & Shona (Fiddle) joined by Anne Mitchell (Fiddle), Wullie Scott (Drums), Ewan Galloway (Piano), Suzanne Gray (Double Bass).
Shona started playing violin at the age of 8 at school and later became enthralled with Scottish music when her sister started learning the accordion.
Shona was brought up with Scottish music around her and the family would always have Take The Floor on BBC Radio Scotland on a Saturday night playing.
One band in particular, that was a favourite in the household, was John Ellis & His Highland Dance Band. This band has been a huge influence on the style that Susan and Shona play in their own band.
Shona’s musical influences range from fiddlers like Bryan Gear and Archie McAllistair and band fiddlers like John Ellis & Angus Fitchet.
Shona has received lessons from several different teachers including Jenna Reid, Gill Simpson and Douglas Lawrence.
Shona has won numerous competitions, including the RSCDS Class, Senior Solo Fiddle MSR, Slow Air and the Overall Senior Fiddle trophies at the NAAFC. Shona is the current Senior All Scotland Fiddle Champion and was also awarded this title in 2019 as well. Prior to that Shona has won slow air, championships and march, strathspey & reel competitions all over Scotland including Perth, Banchory and Oban.
Shona also competed in the prestigious Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship.
Shona has played for country dances up and down the UK and further afield with her sister, Susan’s band for the last 16 years and has recently been playing with the Glencraig SDB whom she has played in Bahrain and Shetland for the annual Up Helly Aa as well as all over the country as well..
Shona has been involved with the RSCDS Summer School, firstly as a tutor on the musicians course along side, then, Musical Director, George Meikle and as a class musician as well. Shona has also played for the RSCDS Winter School in Pitlochry on 4 occasions as well.
Along with her sister, Susan, Shona attended the MG Alba Na Trads Awards – the Scottish Musics version on the “Oscars" where they walked away with the title of Scottish Dance Band of the Year 2018. The band returned to the Na Trads in 2019, which were held in Aberdeen’s Music Hall, to perform a couple of sets which were broadcast on BBC Alba later that same month.
Roddy Matthews has many friends in Shetland over the years he has played and visited here . Allan Smith is the leader of The Clyde Valley Ceilidh Band and Roddy plays with him in the band. They have recorded for BBC Take the floor together for two broadcasts and appeared at numerous accordion and fiddle clubs as guest artists already this year alone. Allan is from Kirkfieldbank near Lanark and is an officer of the Clydesdale Accordion and fiddle Club. Roddy spends his time hopping across the Scottish Border, usually at least twice a week from his home in Northumberland. Both have brought out tune books recently and several of the tunes have already been broadcast on BBC and performed by others. It is Allan’s first visit to the festival.
Andy, from Ayrshire is an accordion player who enjoys all accordion music from around the world. Loves music of all genres, likes to experiment with acoustic MIDI accordion, digital accordion, sound modules and aims to provide an enjoyable programme of good going 'evergreens' mixed with some perhaps lesser played pieces.
Edinburgh-based accordionist David Vernon has been a full-time professional musician for over 30 years, and performed the world over. He is renowned for his extraordinary technical ability and variety on the box, and also as an entertainer - which can often include feats of memory.... David is the accordionist in the renowned “Spirit of Scotland Show” (Edinburgh's premier traditional Scottish show), which averages over 250 performances per year.
Clelland,Blythe & Inver form ‘The Shands’ and study music under the guidance of top tutor, Keith Dickson . They all play Accordion however Clelland has recently taken up Piano, Inver has started drum lessons and Blythe’s first instrument is the Piano so there is never a quiet moment in the Shand household ! They first performed as a group at the Dumfries Music Festival back in 2015 and have since gone on to feature on BBC Radio Scotland’s Take The Floor programme and have gained numerous success at a variety of National and World Accordion Competitions over the years. They have a passion for playing a variety of different styles of music and their reperatoire will be sure to include music from all over the World. They were recently honoured when they were approached by world renowned accordion star, Eric Bouvelle ,to ask if they would perform with his band on a recording as a tribute to the great French Musette artist, Andre Verchuren. The album features Blythe performing a Samba, Clelland playing a Polka & Inver a Tango.The recording was released in 2021 and has since featured on various airwaves all over the world. They have missed performing live during the sustained period of lockdown however are now enjoying playing in front of audiences once again at numerous events throughout the country. It’s their first visit to Shetland and they are delighted to be joined by top drummer, Graham Jamieson. They are all really looking forward to performing at this year’s festival, listening to all the other fabulous musicians and making new friends.
Susie Simpson Trio
Delighted to be returning to the festival, the Susie Simpson trio have been playing together for years, at Scottish Country and Old Time Dances as well as Accordion and Fiddle Clubs. All from the Inverness area, the trio comprise of Susie on lead Accordion, Gillian Stevenson on Fiddle and Jock Fraser on second box.
Hailing from the West Mainland of Orkney, Skeldro comprises of four fiddlers: Ewen Rorie, Fiona Casely, Iona Seator, and Emma Tulloch, alongside pianist Andrew Dennison. Initially tutored under the likes of Jean Leonard and the Wrigley Sisters, the members gained wealthy experience of performing together at local events and further afield during their teenage years, which lead to the start of a new venture in 2015 as a band, Skeldro. The members’ longstanding friendship has formed a tight, powerful sound to Skeldro, and built an extensive repertoire of traditional tunes, with the band going on to perform at weddings, ceilidhs, Scottish music competitions, and appearing as a regular act at the renowned Orkney Folk Festival for a number of years. Out-with Skeldro, the band members have experience of performing as part of Hjaltibonhoga at Military Tattoos in Edinburgh, Dusseldorf, and Sydney, and at university playing active roles within their traditional music societies.
Odd Arne Halaas Trio
Odd Arne Halaas Trio is delighted to be invited to the Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival again this year. Also booked for the 2019 festival, but unfortunately a troublesome kidney stone forced Odd Arne to cancel.
Odd Arne made his first visit to the festival in 2009 with the group Stri Tørn, and they were also back in 2011 and 2014, so he is no stranger to the Shetland audience. He is an artist in high demand in Scandinavia, both as a boxplayer, singer and actor, his current full time job is at a local radio station.
This year Odd Arne joins forces with Norwegian guitarist Reidar Dahle and local bass ace Robert Goodlad. Reidar, also a former member of Stri Tørn, has been a regular at the festival for many years with various bands and Robert should be well known by the festival audience being a busy bass player for decades.
The trio will perform Norwegian and Swedish traditional dance music, maybe adding a couple of Odd Arne's own compositions, all played in their own lively style.
Colin Donaldson Trio
The Colin Donaldson Scottish Dance Band feature regularly on the BBC’s ‘Take the Floor’ programme and continue to be in demand for old time dances, weddings and other private functions. Colin has brought a trio to this year’s festival with his wife Heather on drums and Callum Cruickshank on piano.