This year’s two-night Shetland Guitar Festival will feature former Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim and “alternative jazz” performer Stuart McCallum.
Ibrahim, accompanied by Dalbir Singh Rattan on tablas, will headline the opening night in Bigton Hall next Friday (26th October). The second night will see McCallum topping the bill for a concert at Mareel.
Though best known as the guitarist in the post-John Squire Stone Roses line-up and then in Ian Brown’s solo band, Ibrahim has worked with a diverse roster of artists including Paul Weller, Simply Red, Steven Wilson and Asia.
Performing as a duo alongside Rattan, the Mancunian guitarist draws equally on his Pakistani and British heritage and “gives free rein to an incredibly broad mix of influences that he blends into what he calls the Asian Blues”. His live shows are described as “incredible musical journeys” featuring “infectious creativity”.
McCallum’s music is described as a “new hybrid of composition, production and performance”, taking in everything from jazz beginnings to DJ culture. It “embraces simple, memorable melodies, bass lines and drum beats, with electronic and improvisation enriched by elegant orchestral writing”, according to festival promoters Shetland Arts.
After being invited to join the Cinematic Orchestra in 2004, McCallum has performed on and contributed to the writing of the band’s critically acclaimed albums. He has contributed to Disney’s award-winning nature documentary soundtrack, <i>The Crimson Wing</i>, and a remix of Radiohead’s Exit Music for a Film for the band’s recent remix compilation.
At next week’s performances McCallum will be accompanied by his drummer and a bank of sampled tracks which, together with his “unique” use of effects, will “create a rich and multilayered orchestral sound”.
McCallum will be supporting Ibrahim at Bigton, with Ibrahim returning the compliment at Mareel the following night – giving all festival attendees a chance to see the headliners.
The pair will be collaborating with some of Shetland College’s HNC music students for part of Saturday’s performance. The students involved are Norman Wilmore on tenor sax, Hayden Hook on double bass and cello, Max Tyler on trumpet and piano and Martha Thompson on violin.
Ibrahim and McCallum will also host a workshop from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday afternoon at Mareel. Topics covered will include music technology, the music business, guitar technique and an open-ended range of other subjects.
Shetland Arts music development officer Bryan Peterson said: “We’re delighted to be hosting two of the UK’s most original and visionary guitarists. Aziz and Stuart both seamlessly meld a range of contemporary and traditional influences and ingenious use of technology to create their signature sounds. It’ll be a great experience for our music students to have the chance to collaborate with such fine musicians too.”