The Hjaltibonhoga Big Band

The Hjaltibonhoga Big Band

To help mark the 10th anniversary of Hjaltibonhoga, we are thrilled to provide a platform for the outstanding “Celebrating Sail’ commission that was showcased as part of Lerwick’s Tall Ships opening event in July 2023.

Supported by the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Traditional Arts Programme (TTAP), Hjaltibonhoga have been awarded the opportunity to build on that suite of music and transform it into a touring project that provides additional youth development and lifelong learning opportunities for fiddle players from Shetland and much further afield.

Following the commission brief, Hjaltibonhoga leader Margaret Robertson wrote a continuous 25 minute piece reflecting how the traditional music of Shetland is a moving, living, breathing culture with multiple influential styles.  Working closely with the musical genius that is Harris Playfair, they developed the arrangement of the 7 piece suite keeping Shetland’s traditional musical sounds at its core but blending with other key influences including Country & Western, Jazz, Rock and Classical.

With a 40 strong group of Hjaltibonhoga and guest fiddlers taking the lead, the suite will also showcase a 15 strong backline accompaniment of some of the finest and most profiled local Shetland musicians.

While many of the musicians will have taken part in the Tall Ships event last July, new to the performance will be several young Shetland players who will be given this development opportunity.  The group will have one day to rehearse on Saturday 4th May before taking to the Clickimin Centre stage later that evening.

With around half of the “Celebrating Sail” musicians travelling to Shetland to take part (including from as far away as New Zealand!) this is a collaboration that celebrates Shetland, our musicianship and the strength of the appeal of our indigenous traditional music locally, nationally and internationally.