WATCH: Cultural exchange has love of music at its heart

Six young fiddlers from the isles along with six East London violinists are enjoying a musical and cultural exchange exploring Indian, classical and traditional music.

The East Winds Project culminates in four concerts in Shetland and London, with residencies in both the isles and the English capital.

The talented youngsters, aged between 12 and 14, are taking part in two one-week programmes of workshops and rehearsals, with special guest tutors Balu Raguraman and Paul Anderson.

A concert is being held in Mareel tonight at 7.30pm with another at the Cullivoe Hall in Yell tomorrow evening at 7pm.

Performing arts charity Shapeshifter Productions, based in East London, has selected musicians from different social backgrounds.

They have been communicating from afar with each other before spending time in Shetland this week, sharing experiences, music and lifestyles with the common bond of their instruments.

The East Winds ensemble will be joined in the second half of the concert by local musicians Da Shanty Yell Men and Fiola, as well as renowned Aberdeenshire fiddler Anderson.

Nuriya Qureschi Gonzalez took a break from rehearsals to speak to speak to The Shetland Times about her first visit to Shetland.

“We’ve been doing Shetland tunes and we have about for or five of them,” she said.

“We’ve also got three carnatic tunes which are South Indian and we have three Scottish tunes from Paul Anderson.”

Nuriya, who hails East London, said there were differences in the musical styles, as well as some commonalities.

She admitted she knew little about Shetland prior to taking part in the exchange, but was thoroughly enjoying the experience and has formed new friendships too.

“It [the Shetland fiddle style] is quite different; it’s quite instinctual it seems and quite repetitive … it has been really fun.”

Shetlander Emma Leask said a lot of the South Indian tunes are played by ear and the fiddle is held differently.

“It’s really opened my eyes with the different styles of playing and different ways to play carnatic violin,” she said. “They play upside down and it was quite a shock to see them play like that.”

The project is supported by Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and The Leche Trust in partnership with Shetland Arts.

As part of the exchange, the young musicians are staying with the families of other musicians to really get a taste of city and island life.

“I’ve never been down in England,” Emma said.

“It’ll be good to see the big shops and how busy it is. And McDonald’s as well,” she smiled.

• More in next week’s Shetland Times




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