A triple-bill musical extravaganza is promised at Mareel next month with the 30-strong Shetland Mandolin Band taking to the stage, along with Haltadans and High Level Hot Club.
The mandolin group will be recording their debut CD at the arts centre on Saturday 11th November with a gig that night, drawing on the variety of music they play.
From Argentinian tangos and Portuguese hornpipes to Italian polkas and Shetland blues, the band has blossomed since it formed two years ago. It comprises players of a wide range of ages and abilities, from folk 12 to over 70.
Founder Jenny Henry said the band was very much looking forward to the gig. The players in the band had really grown and developed, she said.
“We’ve had a busy couple of months rehearsing for our concert and the recording, but it’s pretty much coming together now.
“We’ve had one or two hiccups on the way with one of our guitarists unable to play, and our regular bass player having to be off the island on the 11th, but “we’ve managed to hijack Norman ‘Girsie’ Goudie who’s agreed to take over the bass role, for which we’re very thankful.”
Maurice Henderson, Grant Nicol, Lois Nicol, Ewen Thomson and John Clark are already well known in music circles as Haltadans for their lively sets and slick musicianship, as well as a story or two along the way.
Perhaps not so well known, yet showing great promise, are the young band High Level Hot Club.
The four-piece of Tabitha Johnson, 14, on double bass and Lulu Johnson, 12, Daisy Anderson, 11, and Artur Vavilov, 11, play an exciting mix of gypsy jazz and swing.
Their first gig was at the Shetland Schools Music Festival and all have music lessons at High Level Music.
Brian Nicholson has been talking them through chord progressions and tunes, as well as performing with the band.
He said: “It’s such a fun kind of music to play and it’s fine to see everybody having a lot of fun. It’s inclusive because everybody gets a shot.”
“It’s tunes that people know from the originals and love them anyway and then being able to take them and run [with them] and have so much fun with it,” Tabitha said.
The youngsters said they enjoy playing different parts of a tune, and they can play in different configurations too.
“This kind of music is old and goes back to the 1920s,” Brian said.
“An awful lot of more modern stuff is derivative of that. It gives you a very broad base to start with.”
Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Orders of the mandolin band CD can be placed on the night.