PLANS are well under way for the seventh annual Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival.
The event is from Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th November in Burra Public Hall and includes the launch of a fourth Thomas Fraser CD, That Far Away Land.
The festival has its origins in a single concert in Hamnavoe in 2002 to mark the release of the first Thomas Fraser CD. That first concert featured local musicians, most of whom have appeared regularly since.
Taking part again this year is Thomas’s daughter May and her husband Mackie Sutherland who will be joined on stage by May’s daughter Rhonda. Rhonda also appears with Jenny Keldie and Mhari Pottinger in Laeverick.
As well as having been a talented musician, Thomas enjoyed helping and encouraging younger players starting out and no festival would be complete without some of those youngsters, now grandfathers themselves: Arthur Pottinger, Robbie Cumming and Eddie Williamson.
Other locals in this year’s line up are the Pottinger Brothers, John William Ward, Gemma Donald, the Allan Tulloch Band, the Wisharts, and Freda Leask and friends.
Returning from Glasgow for their third appearance in Burra are bluegrass favourites the Moonshiners with Jimmy Moon, Phil Sakerski and Alasdair Kennedy playing a range of instruments and singing with new vocalist and guitarist John McAleese.
Also new this year will be Glaswegian Roberto Cassani and Americans Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan. Cassani is a singer and entertainer, described by Orkney Today as “a true original and an unbelievable performer”.
Ball and Sultan are familiar to Shetland audiences through their appearances at the folk festival in 1999 and 2006. They have appeared together for over 25 years at concerts, clubs and festivals around the world.
In addition, Ball is a noted blues historian who has written countless articles on music, has taught harmonica at university level and recorded solo guitar albums. He has even written two novels.
Sultan has taught music, guitar and music history at university level and has conducted many workshops and seminars. Together they have written film and television music, winning the prestigious Telly Award in 1994. Between them, they have recorded 13 CDs and produced 10 instructional books.
Tickets for the festival, which cost £10 for the Thursday night and £12 for Friday and Saturday, are on sale today at the Peerie Shop, Lerwick; Scalloway Meat Company; and Halcrow’s shop in Hamnavoe.