Gadderie brings international feeling to festival

Saturday brought an international flavour to the 41st Shetland Folk Festival, with a trio of acts performing at the Global Gadderie concert in the Lerwick Legion.

And it was Harare, led by the charismatic virtuoso marimbist Kuda Matimba, that kept the crowd enthralled until the end.

One of only a handful of Zimbabwean dance ensembles in Europe, Harare had feet tapping and heads nodding in time as the audience quickly warmed to the traditional style of African music.

Matimba’s set proved to be a highlight for the gathered Legion crowd, and deservedly so.

Before that, though, Finnish folk songs and tunes with a twist were served by Johanna Juhola and her intriguingly-named “trio”.

It was intriguing because, at first sight, there appeared to be only two of them taking part – Juhola, with her star-studded accordion, and acoustic guitarist Roupe Aarnio.

Only when full introductions were made did it become clear the third member was off-stage. Teemu Korpipää served as a sound “designer” who added subtle twists to the performance with some added creativity.

The trio’s USP was an interesting use of visuals, with an on-stage screen providing the performance with something just a little extra.

There was a lullaby and a piece written for travelling, but the trio’s main highlight was a song introduced by Aarnio about togetherness, where some simple audience participation proved to be all the lyrics required. Sometimes, the simple solution is best.

Highlight for me, however, was Odesa, which is made up of isles-based musicians who celebrate folk music from Eastern Europe.

The band, which kicked off the afternoon show, has been steadily making a name for itself over recent years, and its half hour set of up-tempo Romani tunes showed the group, skilfully led by Annalie Hayward, were truly warming to the task at hand.

There were songs about lost love, clapping in time and an early invitation to dance – the Global Gadderie was certainly off to a strong start.


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