Talented Shetland singer Jillian Isbister will shortly be taking part in a musical extravaganza in Inverness prior to starting a major US tour.
This follows the success in the US of a TV show Highland Heartbeat, which featured Isbister along with other top Scottish singers, musicians, pipers and dancers, and was filmed partly on location at some of Scotland’s top beauty spots.
Isbister recently went to the US – her first trip abroad – to promote the TV show, which attracted huge viewing figures, with 74 per cent of those tuning into the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) watching.
In September the members of the cast will be returning with a live version of the show, which will have its world premiere at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.
Billed to become as big as Irish dance show Riverdance, the show, which will be performed coast to coast, will again celebrate Scottish culture through music and song, complemented by some Scottish dancing.
As well as traditional favourites such as Amazing Grace and Auld Lang Syne, the show will feature newer Scottish work such as Breakaway from singer-songwriters Gallagher and Lyle and The Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall.
And, to her delight, Isbister will be performing a solo Shetland song – The Sang o’ the Delting Lass by Mary Ellen Odie, accompanying herself on piano. “I’m really chuffed they’re letting me do it,” she said.
But before that the performers are producing an album, featuring modern and traditional songs.
The performers for the TV show, who besides Isbister include producer and singer Fiona Kennedy, were chosen from more than 900 hopefuls. A couple of new faces – both great dancers, according to Isbister – will be taking part in the live show, which will also feature musicians and a children’s choir.
Isbister said this year was “very busy and very exciting”, with the Inverness show acting as a warm-up for the US tour, scheduled to last three months. It will start in Iowa, go to the eastern seaboard, south to California and finish in Florida. “It’s a long time and we’ll see so much,” said Isbister.
• Highland Heartbeat is at Eden Court from 28th July to 1st August.