Top tunes, dancing and a tasty chicken curry

Rousing reels, outstanding accordion tunes and a cracking chicken curry were enjoyed in Ollaberry Hall last night.

Local and visiting acts kicked off the evening in style, with a varied concert line-up, ranging from songs to slow airs and even the odd bit of poetry in the bargain.

The concert/supper/dance was one of six events being held for the opening day of the 27th Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival.

Among the candlelit tables and fairy lights there was hardly a spare seat in the house.

Compere David Vernon did a fine job of entertaining the crowd with a couple of cheesy jokes, and a Beatles-based tongue twister tickling the audience.

The last time I saw Shetlander Kirsten Hendry on the fiddle was while sat with a pint of Guinness in The Lounge this summer.

Rattling off tunes with skill and precision, she was even more impressive on stage.

The Love O Da Isles which she performed at this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo along with fellow Hjaltibonhoga fiddlers, was soul-stirring and beautifully played.

A lively set of reels finished off her set and plenty of feet could be heard tapping along to the tunes.

Others acts included Leeshinat (with the soundmen for the evening, Darren Stewart and John Leask) who served up a set of well-polished marches.

The four piece, which included Michael Philip on accordion and Dana Stewart on keys, also played tunes written by Philip – including the medley The Solicitor, complete with harmonising accordions in the opening number.

Neat drumming and tight rolls from Leask picked up the pace and Dana Stewart underpinned with band with chord progressions on the keyboard.

Dana Stewart and Philip returned in the second half, with Philip junior on the pipes.

But not before a dazzling show of accordion skill and gags  from the compere David Vernon.

His hands were a blur at times as he whipped through his repertoire. The Firelfy Waltz with its chordal jabs and dancing melody was top-drawer.

Michael’s son Arran and his “wife to be” played a broad set of instrumentals, again with some of Michael’s tunes in the mix, including one that was written while decorating a farmhouse, looking at a view of Cardenden in Fife.

They played a lovely Irish tune She Moves Through The Fair, and the end of the slot was capped off with John Leask joining the trio on the drum.

Norwegian four-piece Stri Torn brought bass and acoustic guitar to their set, along with two accordions.

The group played an assortment of Norwegian and Swedish dance music, with the crowd happily waving at the camera for a photo to send back home.

Bellowing vocals and sturdy harmonies were thrown in the mix too.

After a tasty chicken curry and popadoms for supper it was on to the dancing. Visiting act the Susan MacFadyen Scottish Dance Band got bums off seats with a Boston Two-Step.

A Dashing White Sergeant followed with plenty of stomping, clapping and twirling to get the heart thumping

No doubt there will be many more pulling on their dancing shoes this weekend.


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