One of Scotland’s top trad acts, featuring Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson, will be performing at Mareel again on Tuesday as part of the band’s first tour for 18 months.
Session A9 have made a big name for themselves nationally and internationally, often billed as “Scotland’s supergroup”. But the members are all part of other bands and Henderson himself is involved in Fiddler’s Bid, Boys of the Lough and Nordic Fiddlers Bloc.
Unfortunately it will be something of a flying visit for Henderson, who now lives in Norway. The Session A9 tour begins in the Isle of Skye today and the band will travel to Wick, Dundee and Aberdeen before Tuesday’s Mareel gig.
After that will be Findhorn and Glasgow before the band finishes up at Glassel, near Banchory, which is a small village hall with a “brilliant” Shetland feel to it, said Henderson, who has played there before.
Henderson said that it had not been “logistically possible” for the band to get together and rehearse prior to the tour, but they hoped to get a bit of shake-down before the first gig in Skye.
As well as recording a new album with Fiddler’s Bid, Henderson and the Boys of the Lough (officially) released their first new album for 10 years this summer entitled The New Line. He has also been working on a new album with his Norwegian band members in Nordic Fiddlers bloc which will be released at the end of this year or early next.
According to Henderson, you need to play in many bands these days to make a professional living from music – partly due to the sheer number of “great” bands that are out there. While that can make life complicated, it also makes it interesting as the musician is faced with new lineups and new challenges.
The cutbacks in arts funding and the sheer competition on the market also means originality, novelty, or at least having the draw of a recently-released album is required before some venues will entertain a band.
But if Henderson’s schedule was not hectic enough, he has just built a house in the idyllic holiday haven in Kragerø in Southern Norway for his fiancé Annika and their two-and-a-half year old son Lukas.