WATCH: Australian trio The Neon Effect light up Mareel on musical journey

A trio of Australian musicians has arrived in the isles, performing a series of shows and exploring links with Shetland from across the globe.

Folk band The Neon Effect rolled off the ferry this week, complete with cello, fiddle and harp.

Jessica Foot, Catie Martin and Michelle Burton are enjoying a week-long tour in the isles and are all members of The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club.

Club patron, Bill Sides is the grandson of fiddler and luthier John Anderson, who, originally from Yell, emigrated to Australia in 1912. He settled there with his wife Mary Sinclair from Sandness.

Mr Anderson made his first fiddle in 1917 and the last in 1960. And his family and descendants have several of the instruments.

A scholarship from Mr Sides is available to Australian musicians to travel to the isles and learn about its music and culture, as well as travel back to Melbourne, with tunes and stories.

Several Shetland musicians have also gone the other way, including Ross Couper and Chris Stout.

The Neon Effect draw influence from a range of musical genres and collect, write and arrange contemporary Australian tunes and songs.

Newly formed this year, they are the recipients of the scholarship, and plan to travel to Mr Anderson’s birthplace in Yell.

Speaking to The Shetland Times ahead of a cosy gig in Mareel’s Cafe Bar, the girls said they were excited to be back in Shetland for a second spell.

They are performing two shows with Hjaltinbonhoga, with a gig tonight in Sound Hall, as well as passing on tips at workshops and school visits in Unst, Yell and Lerwick.

Fiddle and Oboe player Foot said the group plays “contemporary Australian traditional music”.

“It’s a bit of a smash of different styles,” she said.

“Australia is a bit of a multicultural smash.”

On Tuesday the band will be playing at The Old Haa museum in Yell at 2pm.

Asked about the advantages of playing as a three-piece, Burton replied: “We’ve got a good range; we’ve got cello and the harp. The harp and cello have the same lowest note.

“We all have the ability to play melody, or harmony to accompany as well.”

So are there plans to buy any Fair Isle jumpers this time around?

“I ran out of money last time,” Foot laughed.

“This time I’ve been saving.”




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