Shetland Folk Festival line-up announced

The provisional line-up for Shetland Folk Festival 2018 has been released.

Twelve acts have been confirmed, with more to be announced.

Musicians from the USA, Canada, Holland, Denmark and Finland will join British and Irish performers at the 38th edition of the event, which will take place over four days in May.

A total of five acts from across the Atlantic will perform a diverse selection of styles.

Strings-only supergroup quartet The Fretless hail from Canada and are pushing the boundaries of their local traditional music with their own intricate and high-energy arrangements.

Their trophy cabinet includes 2017 Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year among others.

The Cajun Country Revival, including Cajun legends Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy, have been confirmed for this year’s event.

Another supergroup quartet set to visit this year is The Cajun Country Revival, who are based in America.

As well as boasting Cajun legends Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy, the group includes two members of The Foghorn Stringband from the Shetland Folk Festival 2010.

The Brother Brothers, meanwhile, are identical twin siblings based in Brooklyn, New York.

They lean towards the darker, moodier elements of Appalachian folk and bluegrass traditions and are fast-developing a reputation stateside for their live performances and vocal harmonies.

From Manitoba in Canada comes William Prince, a Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter. His rich baritone voice is tipped to captivate audience members from the word go.

The final slot from across the pond is filled by James Hill and Anne Janelle from Canada, another award-winning singer-songwriter act, who play ukulele and cello.

Their intricate and enchanting sound has earned them a Canadian Folk Music Award for best Album of the Year.

Representing mainland Europe are Baltic Crossing –  who appeared in 2012 – and the Tim Kilphuis Trio.

Baltic Crossing, with members from Denmark, Finland and England, have their roots in Nordic and Celtic traditions and deliver performances characterised by vitality and drive, with a good splash of humour.

Their individual members have previously played with popular acts including KAN, Habadekuk, Esko Järvelä Epic Male Band and Tsuumi Sound System.

The Tim Kilphuis Trio, meanwhile, led by the eponymous Dutchman and featuring British performers Roy Percy and Nigel Clark, are internationally-renowned legends who have been dazzling audiences for over decade with their blend of gypsy jazz, classical and folk music.

Scotland is well represented this year, with three award-winning acts.

Siobhan Miller is a three-time winner of the Scots Singer of the Year award.

Siobhan Miller is the only person ever to win Scots Singer of the Year for a third time and will be bringing her award-winning vocals and soulful renewal of traditional song to the festival.

She performed at the festival in 2012 alongside Jeanie Leslie and this time will be returning with her fantastic band.

Shooglenifty, who describe their sound as  “hypno-folkadelic ambient trad”, will be making a welcome return following their previous visits in 1995 and 2009.

Following the sad loss of their fiddler and frontman Angus R Grant in 2016, they spent last year remembering, recording and re-grouping, and are now back again with a new fiddler, ready to create their usual fiery and infectious blend of Celtic traditional music and dance grooves.

Hò-rò are a young band who won the title of Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the BBC Scots Trad Awards last year.

Their energetic tune arrangements and vibrant stage presence, delivered with a dollop of Highland craic, are expected to audiences.

Calan, from Wales, bring together five young musicians who have created their own fresh and vibrant sound as they breathe new life into traditional Welsh music.

Typically dressed in colourful attire and blessed with a quick wit, they showcase a combination of fast-paced, uplifting numbers and slower, haunting songs.

The final visiting act to have been confirmed so far are MOXIE, a young quintet from Ireland who have added some progressive, world and jazz influences to the traditional Irish backbone of their sound.

MOXIE are a young quintet from Ireland who have added some progressive, world and jazz influences to the traditional Irish backbone of their sound. Photo: Colin Gillen/

They are garnering a reputation for highly-charged live performances and are becoming a festival favourite in Europe, America, Australia and beyond.

Alongside the visiting acts, however, a range of local performers will also take to the stage.

Kansa blend Americana music with their own contemporary sound while producing tight-knit harmonies.

Talented Shetland youngsters Fjanna, on the other hand, are hot off the back of their first album launch and are about to enjoy their Celtic Connections debut.

They will be performing traditional Shetland and Scottish tunes as well as their own compositions, demonstrating the skills that saw them win the Shetland’s Got Talent competition in 2016.

Also performing at Celtic Connections this year are Vair, whose album launch at last’s year festival secured a packed room.

Citing traditional Shetland, Scottish and Irish folk and American bluegrass as their influences, their aim is to make music for any occasion.

Another local band, Haltadans, seek to give a new lease of life to long-forgotten tunes through stylish, entertaining renditions.

In all, around 40 local acts are expected to be programmed over the weekend.

Further announcements about the full line-up are due in the coming weeks.

Festival concerts will take place across the isles and will conclude as usual with the famous ‘Foys’ – three venues open on the Sunday night featuring a short 15-minute set by all of the visiting bands.

Early memberships will be on sale at during February. Members will be able to book their concert tickets online from 19th March, two weeks before they go on sale to the general public on 2nd April.

Tickets and memberships can only be bought online.


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