LISTEN: Writer’s tune about isles heritage played by Shetlander for first time

A musician has answered the call of an author, who wanted to hear a Shetlander play a tune he wrote about his isles heritage.

Jenny Keldie, from Burra, has recorded herself playing Taing of Houss on fiddle. The piece was written by Sunderland author Keith Gregson who can trace his roots back to the same isle.

Gregson’s song is named after the home where his family lived, and was composed “with the old ruined croft on Burra in mind”.

Keldie said she hoped Gregson liked the song, which had also made her homesick for Burra as she now lives in Orkney.

She arranged and performed Taing of Houss after Gregson put out a call for an isles fiddler to play it in an article in last week’s Shetland Times.

The story, which included sheet music, was published in the hope that someone from Shetland would be able to play it.

Gregson told this newspaper last week: “I would love to hear it played properly on a fiddle by a Shetlander.”

The writer, who turned 70 last year, has been using his time inside to practise the instrument, with the lockdown giving him a chance to brush up his fiddle playing. But he said he was “not up to recording the tune on fiddle” just yet.

As a belated 70th birthday present, Gregson’s three sons were planning to take him and his wife up to Shetland for a weekend in May, but with that now called off for obvious reasons, he decided to offer up his song instead.


Add Your Comment
  • Billy Jolly

    • April 8th, 2020 1:53

    That wis simply a “Bonnie tune”. Affle well played. There’s no a lot more I can say except that it gave even me a feeling o being homesick. “And I come fae Orkney”! Something in there I canna right get me mind aroond. Billy Jolly.

  • Betty Fullerton

    • April 8th, 2020 10:48

    I so enjoyed that. It gets right into my heart and makes me feel so fortunate to live here. Especially under the current lockdown
    Circumstances. We have so much space and beauty all around us.

  • George T Watt

    • April 9th, 2020 15:31

    Fit ae bonnie tune, richt evocative. Fit is it about Islanders, that ae tune frae ane Isle, captures the hert o aa Islanders? Ma ain connection is wi Islay, yet ilka tuns frae Islay tae Shetland tugs the hert strings, an this tune is nae exception. I’m awa noo tae learn it on ma ain fiddle.


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