Shetland Fiddlers Society
Shetland Fiddlers' Society are not only the 'oldest' performer in the Festival, they are one of the handful of still-active local participants from the first festival in 1981.
Celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2010, the 'group' was originally conceived by the late Dr Tom Anderson to perform at the Shetland Hamefarin in 1960 (where ex-pats return en-mass to their homeland). Tom's aim was to bring together local fiddlers who were still performing in the 'true' Shetland style. At the time, the style was perceived to be under threat due to the increasing popularity of Scottish dance tunes but also the fact that no musical vehicle then existed to bring musicians of this kind together - to exchange ideas and support and maintain their own heritage.
Back then they were known as the Forty Fiddlers' (because there were around 40 musicians in the group). Such was the impact of their performance at the Hamefarin and other local concerts, the group stayed together in this format for many years.
Since then the group have continued to uphold Shetland's fiddle tradition in its purest format, encouraging traditional music making and participation for young and old alike and acting as the springboard for a number of great fiddle players and groups in their own right. The Society adheres faithfully to the melodies and playing style that make the traditional fiddle music of the islands unique and distinct.
The society has recently collaborated with Shetland Folk Dance group of which shares similar traditional philosophy.
The Society has recently recorded their 9th CD, which is due for release around May 2014 featuring guest artistes – Shetland Folk Dance with their dance steps and spirit.