Jaws debut adds bite to Christmas music

Elena Piras and John Laughland entertain the Christmas gathering at Lerwick Town Hall. Photo: Chris Brown
Elena Piras and John Laughland entertain the Christmas gathering at Lerwick Town Hall. Photo: Chris Brown

The very first event of the new Shetland Jaws went off swimmingly on Saturday as a large group of revellers assembled to celebrate a Jazz and World Sounds Christmas.

Lerwick Town Hall had never looked better and the music was played in an atmosphere that could have been bottled and sold.

Elena Piras, from Sardinia via Bressay, sang her heart out, accompanied by the excellent piano playing of John Laughland, from Unst via Yell. We needed more from him and I hope he starts playing more regularly.

Piras treats songs with loving affection and delivers them in a delightfully unassuming way that understates her abundant talent.

There next came a surprise additional world sounds element by way of Joy Duncan and her Monday night drumming group. They performed a short but spirited set that featured Dawn Merrifield. How was one of those responsible for preparing the excellent spread of food, prancing around the auditorium beating an African drum with a wooden spoon? Sounds bizarre, I know, but it was an excellent percussion performance that this talented group gave us.

Then it was the turn of Mahogany who blew us all away with a quick fire set of well-presented numbers from their usual repertoire, which gets more extensive at every gig, plus some Christmassy numbers thrown in for seasonal cherish. They really do know how to work an audience and got a terrific reception for every number from the packed room.

So, what a gig for the newly-named organisation (formerly Shetland Jazz Club). Good music, great food, electric atmosphere, topped off with late-night dancing to the remarkable DJ Hambone, and a merry old time was had by all.

Let’s hope all Shetland Jaws gigs go off as well as this one did.
Jeff Merrifield


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