Last Thursday saw the Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Club’s season at the Shetland Hotel come to a close, with the usual guest artiste night and tune competition results.
Visiting were Susan MacFadyen and her Scottish Dance Band with MacFadyen on accordion, her sister Shona Scott on fiddle, Ewan Galloway on piano and Kieran Johnstone on drums.
With a good number of entries for the tune competition it was no easy task for MacFadyen to whittle down the number to just three in each category.
But the final results, each played in turn by the band, were – junior section (age 18 and under): 1 (Alan Bruce Memorial Trophy) Hannah Adamson; 2 Liam Brannan; 3 Lara Polson.
Senior section (age 19 and over): 1 (Willie Hunter Memorial Trophy) Drewie Hawick – Rachel Anne and Robert’s Pig; 2 Drewie Hawick – Barina Waltz; 3 Michael Philip – Highlander Gordon Pirie.
For 76-year-old Hawick it was the fifth time he had won the coveted award, set up in memory of one of Shetland’s most famous fiddlers, Willie Hunter, to promote Scottish Dance Music in the isles in 1995.
Hawick saved up and purchased his first accordion from The Music Box on Commercial Street in 1959. It was a “Royal Standard” and cost £60 which was a lot of money in those days.
For much of his playing career he played with the “Mark Five” with Norman Goudie, Sydney Hunter, Leonard Cheyne and Robert “Dobbles” Smith. They played the length and breadth of the isles at various types of functions and at halls and camps.
He has always had quite an informal approach to playing, often appearing as simply “Drewie Hawick and Friends”. He thinks it’s always better to want to play than be forced into it.
He has also had his fair share of Up-Helly-A’ musical outings, having played for 17 years at the Northmavine festival as well as at Nesting, Scalloway, Bressay and the Lerwick one. He has travelled to Norway and York with the Lerwick Jarl’s Squad.
As for the Shetland Fiddle and Accordion and Festival, which has been going for a good few years now, he has only missed playing at one – when he was in Canada.
Asking him about the composing process he says it’s just one word – “sent”. He sees it as a gift. He never thinks about writing a tune. He just sits down, picks up the box and it happens.
“It runs through my head, then I tweak it,” he tells me at his home at South Lochside.
His wife Mida says she might have just popped to Tesco and by the time she’s back he will come with a tune. It can happen any day or any place.
Hawick has to record the tunes so he can remember them and like many talented muscians he doesn’t actually read music. With the tune competition it depends on the tunes of course but also who is judging.
He thinks fiddle and accordion music in the isles is in very good shape, going through “somewhat of a revival” with teachers like Michael Philips and Peter Wood.
He didn’t like to pick out anyone in particular, but thought the young ones were “aa good dat ir comin’ up”.