Renowned isles fiddler Kevin Henderson flew in from Norway to launch a new fiddle tuition DVD at a packed out gig in Mareel on Sunday.
The founding Fiddlers’ Bid member played an intimate free show in the cafe bar, joined by a host of top musicians in Kris Drever, Lois Nicol, Ewen Thomson, Grant Nicol and Maurice Henderson.
With this year’s Fiddle Frenzy also drawing to a close, visiting musicians and locals alike joined in with a lively session on the balcony afterwards.
Henderson said the idea for a DVD had always been in the back of his mind.
“Shetland fiddle is quite a unique fiddle style that is well known around the world. I’ve always had this idea in the back of my head for doing something,” he said.
Videographer and local musician JJ Jamieson shot the DVD at his home in Sandwick and approached Kevin after successfully co-producing a film with Dave Donaldson of Shetland knitter Hazel Tindall.
“It was pretty challenging to teach to a camera,” admitted Henderson after the show.
“It was weird to start with but I got into it. It was also challenging because I realised I had to get all the bowing and the ornaments right first time, rather than when you’re doing a workshop.
“It was challenging to do but it was very enjoyable to see the finished thing.
“JJ has done an amazing job putting it together. He’s great with coming up with quirky ideas and has got an eye for it.”
The DVD features five Shetland fiddle tunes: Oliver Jack, Da Delting Bridal March,Vallafield, Da Trowie Burn and Ahint da Dykes o’ Voe.
Henderson, who now lives in Norway, said choosing the pieces came quite naturally and wanted to reflect the different types of fiddle music in the isles.
The local lad also launched a book of traditional tunes from his acclaimed album Find Da Laand Ageen, with pointers on bowing and ornamentation.
He said a lot of folk had asked for notation of his tunes in the past, which prompted the idea pulling all the tunes together.
Learning fiddle, he said was a mixture of learning orally and from paper.
“It’s hard to get it stylistically when you see it written on a sheet of paper, it’s very much a balance.
“Back in the day it was all done orally. It’s good that these tunes are notated and transcribed, but on the flip side in Shetland there are a lot of tunes that have been lost.
“Shetland had four or five different styles… When it [the music] started to get transcribed it started to become standardised.”
Sunday afternoon was standing-room-only, such was the turnout.
And for Henderson he was keen to have other musicians performing at the launch.
“I wanted to have a couple of tunes with Ewen because he plays on the DVD and I play a fiddle made by Ewen.” he said.
“I thought it would be quite good to mention that because I quite often get asked what fiddle I used.
“I have been friends with Kris Drever for 14 years and he’s one of my favourite musicians.
“He’s an amazing guitarist and singer and multi-instrumentalist, and I really love playing with Grant, Lois and Maurice.
“I just wanted to create a ‘sessiony type vibe’ on a Sunday afternoon.”