Edinburgh Tradfest’s new Spotlight season of online concerts continues tonight (Mon 19 Oct, 8pm) with Shetland Springs featuring musicians Catriona MacDonald (fiddle, String Sisters) and Margaret Robertson (fiddle, piano, Edinburgh Military Tattoo).

A ‘spring’ is the dialect name for old Shetland dance tunes and this concert brings together two of Shetland’s leading contemporary fiddle players for a celebration of this distinctive and rich fiddle tradition.

Each of the performers are steeped in the older repertoire of these Northern Isles and as composers in their own right, each are adding their own voice to this living tradition.

Shetland Springs was originally commissioned for five fiddlers and was to be premiered at Edinburgh’s Tradfest Festival in May this year. This pre-recorded concert celebrates a musical friendship dating back almost 40 years and is a true celebration of Shetland’s rich fiddle tradition told through heartfelt airs and reels.

Musician Catriona MacDonald said: “This gig filled my musical soul in these Covid times. Playing live, and highlighting many Springs (tunes) that are at the heart of our island’s heritage was really special, and to be joined by Margaret Robertson on fiddle and piano was the icing on the cake.

Shetland Springs – Catriona MacDonald and Margaret Robertson

“We hope folks will enjoy the concert, and look forward to the Shetland Springs gig next year at Tradfest 2021, when we will be joined by more fiddlers from ‘Da Auld Rock’ for a musical celebration’.”

Musician Margaret Robertson said: “I’ve known Catriona all my musical life and to get the opportunity through Tradfest to play with her was simply a joy! A mix of old and new music but a first time collaboration in this way for us. Really looking forward to Shetland Springs in its full form!”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said: “Since the world went into lockdown, musicians have found ever-more inventive ways to keep their creativity flowing and connect with their audiences. Creative Scotland is delighted to support Tradfest in this online celebration of the diversity of Scotland’s trad scene, keeping this vibrant music fresh in the public eye and ear until live events can return to the festival circuit.”

Douglas Robertson, Founder of The Soundhouse Organisation and Programmer of Edinburgh Tradfest said: “It feels great to finally be able to bring a taste of Tradfest’s 2020 programme to audiences, albeit online. We hope that these concerts will give at least a flavour of the energy and extraordinary talent of the musicians we bring to Tradfest each year and look forward to welcoming audiences back in 2021.”

All the ‘Spotlight’ series concerts were video recorded live at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh at the end of August and include short interview clips, chat, and great tunes from all the bands.

Tickets for the Shetland Springs concert are available from the Traverse Box Office and the concert will be available to download or watch online from 8pm tonight.
Details are available on www.edinburghtradfest.com and www.traverse.co.uk
All the concerts are 30 minutes long and can be viewed for seven days.