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Orkney & Shetland Music
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The Orkney & Shetland Isle's are a small group of islands situated at the most northerly point of Scotland. Though not part of Scotland until a classic exercise in payment default by the Scots on the Norwegian crown in the late 15th century, Shetland's proximity being as close to Norway as it is to the Scottish mainland has resulted in its culture and history being deeply influenced by Scandinavian traditions.

It is a remote region surrounded by treacherous seas and a cold North Atlantic climate. With Orkney, its close neighbour, life evolved round agriculture and fishing the short season attended by members of the same local community often working together for many years. Consequently at festivals and feasts songs would be sung about adventures and perils at sea and celebratory dances at the various agricultural festivals a popular community attraction.

In terms of music the Islands have a vibrant and warming heart fueled by a fiddle playing culture that is famously fast and furious but dignified with grace and great skill. Perhaps the greatest exponent is Aly Bain who in the 1980's played with the well known Celtic traditional band 'Boys of the Lough' and more recently with Scottish accordionist Phil Cunningham.

But traditional fiddle playing is only a part of the Northern Isles music scene where numerous artistes of both traditional and contemporary genres create many types of music throughout the islands and who play as regularly in the local pubs and hotels as well as they do in major venues both on the mainland and on the world stages. The artists listed are some of the more prominent Orkney and Shetland musicians worth exploring.

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Aly Bain

  1. Aly Bain
  2. Chris Stout
  3. Fiddlers Bid
  4. Blazin Fiddles
  5. Catriona MacDonald
  6. Willie Hunter
  7. Mallochy Tulloch
  8. Jenna Reid
  9. Peerie Willie Johnstone
  10. Shoormal
  11. Violet Tulloch
  12. Da Fustra
  13. Sheila Henderson
  14. Filska
  15. Mark Laurenson
  16. Violet Tulloch
  17. Wrigley Sisters
  18. The Cullivoe Band
  19. Eddie Barclay
  20. Thomas Fraser
  21. Jumpstart
  22. David Ward
  23. Peerie Willie Johnson
  24. Kirkwall City Pipe Band