Summer News

Fiddlers' Bid have had an enjoyable summer managing to get together in Denmark, Scotland and Shetland for concerts.

The†Halkśr Festival in†Denmark was a highlight in June.† We arrived to gorgeous sunny weather and a very welcoming festival in Denmark.† All organic food and drink, locally produced. †

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The line up for the concert that night was Denmark's Himmerland, Fiddlers' Bid and JPP from Finland.† We new we were in for a great weekend and some lovely music.†

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†JPP came back on for a second set after the concert to play for a dance.† Some†fantastic music from the Finns†and along with some of the local organic beers a fine way to round of the evening and great yarns.†

In July we made a return visit to Speyfest.† The festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and Fochabers is real fiddle country.†The band had a dramatic and†memorable rehearsal in the afternoon before the gig. †

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A most severe†thunder and lightning storm passed over the village and†actually struck the conservatory building we were playing†in, sparks and smoke were seen†where it struck the metal work.† Feeling energised we were looking forward to the gig and were not disappointed,†a very warm†reception at the concert from the Fochabers folk and hospitality, ending in some late night tunes. It had been a few years! and someone took down a photo album from back in 1999 with pictures from various late night parties with Fiddlers' Bid. †

Then it was off to home turf and to play in the new Mareel venue in Lerwick.† Fiddlers' Bid's first concert in Shetland's new music and cinema venue.† The occasion was the 10th Anniversary of Shetland Fiddle Frenzy.† The concert had sold out well in advance and among the audience, 60 or so fiddle students attending the week long summer school.††Fiddle Frenzy†is a great event that takes the students out and around Shetland to learn Shetland music, see where the tunes came from and with lessons and excursions through the day and concerts every night, plus a couple of dances and informal sessions, it is a true Shetland fiddle music experience.

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(photo by Dale Smith)

Fiddlers' Bid were impressed with the venue and sound, a nice intimate feel on stage,†lending itself to being quite a homely feel and interaction with the audience. There were of course a number of family and friends also in the crowd.† We also got a chance to open the concert with some new material we had arranged back in April during our trip to Scotland.

Andrew and Maurice were teaching at the Fiddle Frenzy event and both were playing in Fetlar, where†Maurice†hosted story telling and tunes in Aithbank, Jamesie Laurenson's old house, now renovated as a self catering camping bŲd.† Andrew taught tunes in the†Fetlar Hall.††

Among the repertoire were a number of Fetlar trowie tunes.†The old Fetlar tune Haltadans was overheard by a fiddler walking through the hill one night several hundred years ago.† The fiddler caught the trows dancing in their limping style, henking and benking around in a circle, surrounding a fiddler and his wife.† The brief snippet of this beautiful haunting melody was caught just before they all turned to stone.† The stone circle in Fetlar bears the name Haltadans and†translates as†Limping Dance.†

The weather was fine and Maurice decided that we should get the students to trek to the Haltadans, negotiating the mires, to play the tunes.† Now! there has been several previous attempts by Fiddlers' Bid to venture up to the Haltadans and play in the dark and Maurice regularly heads up there†in the black dark†(but without the fiddle).† The fear being the trows, and the thought of perhaps not returning, being taen by the trow.† Maurice thought that in broad daylight and with 50 fiddlers, the trows surely wouldn't bother us.†

The only thing is will the trows just be biding their time until Maurice or the Bid return themselves in the dark†for their†revenge!

Image 2Here's a picture of the 50 Fiddle Frenzy fiddlers playing trowie tunes at the Haltadans.†

The weather was fantastic around fiddle frenzy time and after a July where Shetland had seen nothing but 21 days of Fog out of 24 it was a mercy.† Guitar player Mike Bryan from Glasgow was up in Shetland performing with Fiddlers' Bid at the Fiddle Frenzy concert and also backing Andrew in the Fetlar Hall. He stayed on a few days to see around Shetland.†So Maurice took him to one of our not so famous beaches at the back of Ronas Hill. Mike after walking for over 2 hours over the hill and descending a scree cliff with the aid of a rope was beginning to doubt whether the walk to†this beach at the back†of Shetland's highest hill could possibly be worth it! After all it was going to be a serious climb back over the hill, 3+ hours to the car. He had also seen the best beaches of Harris and the famous Scottish beaches on the West Coast, what could compare?!.....† However the Shetland beach did not disappoint. Mike said he†had to eat his words or at least said he shouldn't have doubted Maurice's description of it as a fine beach.

The Lang Ayre is over a mile of red sand backed by red granite cliffs of about 800 feet.† With the afternoon sun making them glow it was a sight to behold.† A fine spot for a picnic with the power of the†Atlantic Ocean ever present.

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The next Fiddlers' Bid†adventure is in Norway at the Osa Festivalen in Voss. We are all very much looking forward to that.

© Fiddlers' Bid 2015