Shetland folk fans are in for a treat at the end of this month as three of the most significant musicians in the Celtic music scene take a break from their busy touring schedules to head north and collaborate for a couple of one-off gigs in Lerwick and Mid Yell.
Kevin Henderson, one of Shetland’s most profiled fiddle ambassadors, will be appearing with one of his Boys of the Lough partners in crime Brendan Begley and multi-instrumentalist Tim Edey.
While performing at the two concerts on 27th and 28th November, Kevin will be sacrificing a potential celebration at Scots Trad Music Awards where he is nominated in two categories.
Scottish “supergroup” Session A9, which Kevin has played with since 2004, is nominated in the Live Act of the Year category while Fiddlers’ Bid, the band he helped co-found back in 1994, is up for Album of the Year with All Dressed in Yellow.
Kevin has been playing music professionally since being asked to guest with folk legends Boys of the Lough for a tour of the USA in the spring of 2002. Now an established member of the “boys”, he has since completed 19 extensive tours of the USA as well as touring across the UK and Europe.
He recently co-formed The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc and has been involved in a number of other successful musical outfits, including being Shetland tutor for the folk festival’s Nordic Tone educational project that has since been booked for Celtic Connections.
Kevin and Shetland students Maggie Adamson, Lois Nicol, Darren Stewart and Sam McEvoy will be reunited with the 20 other group members from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland for their Glasgow debut on 24th January.
Brendan Begley, from the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry, is a well-known and accomplished performer of Irish traditional music on the button accordion who has played with Boys of the Lough since the 1980s.
Famous for his exciting dance music, singing in his native Irish and as TV presenter of traditional music on Irish language channel TG4, he is a firm favourite with audiences and musicians alike.
Brendan previously appeared with Kevin at a folk festival concert in Mid Yell in 2008 whereas Tim Edey performed with his brother Seamus Begley and Session A9 at the 26th festival.
Tim, who plays guitar in the Sharon Shannon Band and also regularly with Michael McGoldrick, is a master of no less than 10 instruments. With his dazzling technical ability, soulful feel, musical charisma and amazing instrumental improvisation, he is a highly-in-demand session musician both on stage and in the studio.
Kevin said: “It’s always great to come home to play and I’m really excited Brendan and Tim are coming. Brendan is one of the finest accordion players and singers in Ireland, especially the music of Kerry and his songs in Irish are really something special.
“Tim is one of the best multi instrumentalists on the scene so folk are in for a real treat getting to hear them. They are just fantastic musicians and I know they’re both really looking forward to getting back up.
“Brendan has informed me that he and Tim are going swimming in the North Sea when they are up, so I can’t wait to witness that!”
Davie Henderson of the folk festival committee said: “I’m delighted to be able to organise some lively and quality folk festival type concerts in November to help lighten up the dark winter nights and to help fund-raise for our 30th festival next year.
“The whole committee is really looking forward to welcoming Kevin, Brendan and Tim back to Shetland and of course showcasing our own local talent in the form of Rack ‘n’ Ruin, Ryan Couper and Jonny Polson and Brak da Bröd.”
Tickets go on sale on Saturday from High Level Music and the Mid Yell shop, priced £10 for Shetland Folk Festival members and £12 for non-members. Ryan Couper and Jonny Polson will act as local support at both concerts alongside Brak da Bröd at the Lerwick British Legion on Friday 27th November and rare appearance by Rack ‘n’ Ruin at the Mid Yell concert on Saturday 28th November.