Plenty of variety at memorial concert

From a kazoo to an electric harp and a vibraphone, there was no doubting the variety of music on show in Gulberwick last night.

The memorial concert for Michael Coutts and Wilbert Henry, long-standing committee members of the Shetland Folk Festival and fiddle and accordion festivals, was a great success.

More than £2,600 was raised at the fund-raising night to buy a double bass to present to the two festivals, to save on the high costs of transporting double basses to the isles each year.

It was a night of great fun and laughter with rows and rows of folk filling the hall.

Accordion player Brian Morrison was first to perform, opening the evening with a lively set of reels.

He had the audience laughing from the off, with a stuttering of chords as he played the instrument the other way round.

Joking something wasn’t right he turned it over and launched into a half-hour set of expert accordion playing, Dizzy Fingers was a joy to watch and Morrison’s take on Phil Cunningham’s Sarah’s Song was rich and moving.

The smooth jazz sounds of Girsie’s Loose Ends followed. All of Me “dedicated to all Olives” was cosy and comforting with Goudie’s guitar licks and warming vocals leading the way.

The soaring, soulful saxophone lines from Helen Tait, vibraphone accompaniments from Callum Nicolson and double bass runs from Jack Robertson were superb.

Adding drum solos and tight brush skills from Douglas Johnston and nifty finger work from Alan Nicolson, you could have easily have been in a smoky American jazz bar drinking cocktails.

Shetland’s number one kazoo player Steven Robertson had the crowd howling with laughter.

His clever parodies included Sullom Prison, an oil industry version of the Johnny Cash hit Folsom Prison Blues, No A Fast CarFast Car by Tracy Chapman with a Shetland twist, and He’s 80 mil – a cheeky version of James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful, featuring Ivan Hawick and his naked calendar.

Robertson went down a storm.

The Soothmoothers followed, with three fifths of the band stepping in to perform. Catherine Brown, Kirsty North and Adam Guest played a mixture of highland tunes, jigs and reels, with North on electric harp, Guest on guitar and Brown on fiddle and D whistle.

Despite some technical problems, the group were given a warm reception by the crowd.

Then it was on to soup and sandwiches before a Boston Two-Step and various other dances from the Cullivoe Dance Band, which had plenty of folk up enjoying themselves.

The First Foot Soldiers finished off the night, with brilliant harmonies and well polished covers.

Ranging from Johnny Cash to Queen the band played plenty of well-known rock and country hits that had folk on the dance floor till the end.

The band’s clever medley of Folsom Prison Blues, Superstition, Le Freak (Freak Out) and Ace of Spades was a highlight of their set.

For more see Friday’s Shetland Times.


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