Guitar maestros head north for the Peerie Willie festival
The fifth Shetland Guitar Festival will take place between Friday 18th and Sunday 20th September.
With concerts in Unst, Lerwick, Brae and Bigton, educational events in schools and the Classic Guitar Show and Trade Fair in the Islesburgh Centre, the Shetland Arts event will be a must for guitar and music enthusiasts.
Known locally as the Peerie Willie festival, it is dedicated to the memory of the late Peerie Willie Johnson, the highly regarded Shetland guitarist who pioneered the jazz-influenced accompaniment style now prevalent in traditional Shetland music.
Visiting artists include Lulo Reinhardt, great grand-nephew of the late great Django; Itamar Erez, an Israeli guitarist, pianist and composer; Brian Gore, an American steel strung acoustic player; and Havana Swing, a Scottish “hot
jazz” quintet featuring three guitars, double bass and clarinet.
The festival kicks of on the Friday in the Garrison Theatre, Lerwick, where Reinhardt, Erez and Gore will play a range of solo, duet and trio pieces.
The three guitarists are currently on tour together under the International Guitar Night moniker, a project that aims to bring together interesting and innovative guitarists to exchange musical ideas, highlighting the virtuosity and diversity within the world of the acoustic guitar. Young local guitarists Adam Johnson from Brae and Jonny Polson from Lerwick will support them.
The festival will also be heading north to Baltasound Hall on Friday where Havana Swing will perform their trademark
brand of “Hot Club de Paris” inspired jazz.
They will be supported by last year’s Young Fiddler of the Year Maggie Adamson accompanied by well-known local guitarist Brian Nicholson, and young Unst guitarist Megan Burns who recently won over the crowds with her performance at UnstFest. The concert will be hosted by Unst-based comedian and guitarist Sandy Nelson.
On the Saturday it is south to the Bigton Hall where Reinhardt and Erez will headline, with support from Norman Goudie and Friends, a band rumoured to include prominent local musicians and jazz stalwarts Jack Robertson and Drew Robertson.
In Lerwick, in the opulent surroundings of the town hall, audiences will have another chance to see Havana Swing perform, supported by Maggie and Brian.
Also on Saturday, in the Long Room of Busta House Hotel, there will be a special acoustic performance by Gore and Shetland Young Musician of the Year, singer Erin Sandison. They will be supported by Adam Johnson and Jonny Polson.
Tickets costing £12 (£10 concessions) for all concerts are available from sponsors High Level Music on (01595) 692618 and Shetland Box Office at Islesburgh on (01595) 745555. Box office customers can buy tickets by credit card over the phone and collect them at the venue.
All concerts except the Garrison will have a bar and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.
Music development officer Bryan Peterson said: “The festival gives audiences a chance to experience world-class performers playing a variety of styles on one of the world’s most popular and versatile instruments.
“As well as the visiting artists, the festival line up boasts some exceptional local players and young up and coming musicians.”
As part of the festival, the first Shetland Classic Guitar Show and trade fair will be held on the Sunday.
The show will feature a range of guitars including vintage, historically significant, hand made and unusual instruments. The trade fair will give visitors a chance to try out guitars, amps and effects pedals from manufacturers including Skyinbow, Moon Guitars, Ibanez and Fender.
There will also be workshops hosted by artists performing at the festival and an open stage concert to allow Shetland’s aspiring young guitarists to take to the stage and show off their skills.
To exhibit guitars or perform on the open stage, contact Bryan Peterson at Shetland Arts on (01595) 743843 or Brian Nicholson at High Level Music on (01595) 692618. There will be a £2 entry charge payable at the door.