Congratulations to The String Shetland who have been nominated in Venue of the Year sponsored by Musicians' Union in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2019. Vote here! Vote now!
We asked Neil Riddell of The String Shetland the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
We are a newly established restaurant and music venue providing an intimate 50-capacity performing space for folk and traditional musicians both living locally and touring nationally in conjunction with the not-for-profit Ragged Wood community promotions group.
Since opening in August 2018 we have enjoyed great shows from some of Scotland's best roots acts including Rachel Sermanni, Adam Holmes & The Embers, Fara, Saltfishforty and Rose Room. We've also hosted some great American artists including Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, May Erlewine (as part of the 2019 Shetland Folk Festival) and Kim Richey.
In September of this year we hosted the inaugural Shetland Songwriters Festival, organised by the brilliant Jenny Sturgeon, which featured a weekend of workshops, songs and great local food with tutors Rachel Sermanni and Louis Abbot of Admiral Fallow. We hope to work with Jenny to ensure this becomes an annual event.
This summer we have run a hugely successful regular Thursday night session with some of Shetland's brilliant up-and-coming young musicians – acts including High Level Hot Club, Skelburn, Willafjord Sessions and the High Level Fiddlers – which have proved wildly popular with locals and visitors. We also run regular concerts with great established Shetland acts including Haltadans, Vair, Kansa, Odessa and many, many more.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
Out of a passion for the astonishing breadth and quality of the acts performing and recording on the roots scene today, and a lifelong commitment to spreading the tremendous joy that the live music experience brings to so many people.
Any particular career highlights?
Being able to put on shows with so many brilliant artists, both in our venue, at Mareel and at village halls around Shetland, over the past ten years. Shows with high-profile American acts like Jason Isbell, The Lone Bellow and The Punch Brothers are definite highlights, but the knowledge that so many musicians within Scotland and beyond are so keen to come to our little island to play music is truly heartwarming.
What are your plans for the future?
To refurbish and expand The String as a music venue, improving the production we are able to offer with better lighting, furnishings etc., and to continue pursuing funding opportunities to make more live music happen in Shetland.
Read more about The String Shetland
If you wish to attend the final ceremony, tickets are are priced £25 (+ Booking Fee), and Concessions are available. To book please call Aberdeen Music Hall Box Office on 01224 641122, or visit: https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/whats-on/all-shows/the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards/2734. Bands performing on Saturday 7th December include Skerryvore, Session A9, Benedict Morris (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award Winner 2019), Heisk, Aberdeenshire Youth Band, Sian, Robyn Stapleton, Mairi Campbell and the Pendulum Band, Susan MacFadyen Scottish Dance Band and more to be announced. There will also be a late night ceilidh after the Awards till 1am.
If you would like to support Hands Up for Trad in their work with Scottish trad music and musicians please consider supporting our Patreon campaign. We have 3 tiers starting at $1 a month and everything helps support us in our work. Read more at www.patreon.com/handsupfortrad