All-star cast of Transatlantic Sessions musicians to play date in isles

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Shetland’s many folk, country and Americana devotees can look forward to a bumper night of top-notch live music when the esteemed Transatlantic Sessions production comes to Lerwick early next year.

Native islander Aly Bain will be joined on stage at Clickimin on Friday 3rd February by a group of supremely talented musicians and singers from both sides of the pond. The 2012 line-up includes Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Raul Malo, Eddie Reader, Karen Matheson, Ruth Moody and Declan O’Rourke.

The enormously popular all-star cast toured the UK in 2010 and 2011, and is being brought to Shetland either side of two Glasgow dates as part of the Celtic Connections festival. All the other non-Shetland dates are in big cities: Birmingham, Dublin, London and Newcastle. It is being brought to Shetland as part of the so-called “year of Scotland’s islands”.

The Transatlantic Sessions, televised by the BBC for several years, is billed as “the ultimate back-porch session”. The concept was dreamt up by film-makers Douglas Eadie and Mike Alexander, and it was described by one national newspaper critic as “uniting top-class musicians from different traditions to explore and forge common ground”. Tickets for the Shetland date are due to go on sale at High Level Music this Friday.

Fiddler Bain and “dobro deity” Jerry Douglas are joint musical directors of the project, and the line-up they have concocted this year features Malo, lead singer of the Mavericks, Irish singer-songwriter O’Rourke, Scottish singer-songwriter Reader, gaelic songstress Matheson and founding member of the Wailin’ Jennys, Moody.

Coming across the ocean from the US are roots doyen O’Brien and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky. The ensemble is flanked by a “crème-de-la-crème” house band including Russ Barenberg, Danny Thompson, John Doyle, Mike McGoldrick, James Mackintosh and Donald Shaw.

A Celtic Connections spokeswoman said that bringing Transatlantic Sessions to Shetland would “benefit the local economy and broaden awareness of the diversity of cultures”.


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