Shetland Folk Festival favourites the New Rope String Band will headline a trio of “musical feasts” at the end of this month.
Backed by visiting band Aamos from Norway, featuring Shetland fiddlers Mark Laurenson and Kevin Henderson alongside Vidar Skrede, the New Rope String Band are topping the bill for this year’s “pre-Christmas spree”. The line-up at Sandwick Social Club, the Muckle Roe Hall and the Lerwick Legion will be supplemented by a different local act each night.
Promoter Davie Henderson said the “superb folk musicianship combined with side-splitting comic genius” was just the tonic for anyone dreading the lead-up to the festive period.
“There’s no doubt that once seen, the New Rope String Band are never forgotten,” he said. “Truly unique entertainers, their precision-honed combination of beautiful acoustic music with circus, clowning, vaudeville, slapstick and sheer inspired silliness is guaranteed to result in uproarious performances.
“Currently touring as a three piece with Pete Challoner, Tim Dalling and Jock Tyldesley, these maniac minstrels mix up long time favourite routines with ever-evolving new material. From musical tennis to deconstructed nursery rhymes, Python-esque absurdism to pyrotechnics and live interactive film, expect the hilariously unexpected.”
Sure to bring their own banter to the stage are Aamos, formed in Norway in 2008 by Henderson and Laurenson, from Lerwick and Bigton respectively. They have teamed up with guitarist Skrede, from Rogaland in south-western Norway, to promote and showcase traditional Shetland music, which forms the basis of the Aamos repertoire. Skrede, who also plays Hardanger fiddle, performs with a range of Norwegian folk bands including Geitungen, who appeared in Shetland at the 2004 folk festival.
Flying the Shetland flag will be three fantastic local bands. Sandwick’s concert will feature Väir, whose debut performance at last year’s pre-Christmas Spree was the launch pad for their subsequent showcase as part of this year’s big Saturday night Clickimin folk festival concert.
Featuring the musical talents of Ryan Couper, Jonny Polson and brothers Lewie and Erik Peterson, Väir are already favourites on the local folk circuit and are being tipped by some as the isles’ next big musical export.
The Muckle Roe concert will feature Haltadans with Maurice Henderson, Lois Nicol, Ewen Thomson, Grant Nicol and John Clark, who Henderson says are “sure to kick up a musical storm wherever they land”.
The Sunday afternoon gig in the Lerwick Legion will feature two of Shetland’s finest guitarists and singers, father and son duo Brian and Arthur Nicolson.
Doors open at 7pm in Sandwick on 30th November and Muckle Roe on 1st December, and at 2pm at the Lerwick Legion on 2nd December. The Muckle Roe concert has sold out.