Da Ferry Reel: The fairies and trows of North Yell were talented musicians. A fiddler returning home after playing at a wedding sat down on a hillock to rest. After a moment he thought he heard music coming from a hole in the ground. What sounded like a dance was going on underneath and the trowie fiddler was playing a very cheery tune. After he returned home he called it the fairy reel. (There is another version of this tune in Cullivoe called Loddie)
Da Soldiers Joy/De’il Among da Tailors: Two well known tunes which we have our own local version of. Listen for the use of the
high bass between the first and second part of the Soldiers Joy.
Oliver Jack/Da Merry Boys a Greenland/Willafjord: Three well known Shetland tunes, taken home by fiddlers who were at the Greenland whaling in the 18th/19th centuries.
Millie Gudger: An old North Yell tune played here by Danny Jamieson. The title may denote a mill at Gutcher, North Yell.
Ahint da Daeks o Voe: A tune known all through Shetland, but we have our own version. In previous times people built ‘hill dykes’ to keep the hill animals away from the cultivated land in the village. We don’t know what took place behind these dykes to inspire the tune!.
Lay Dee At Dee: This tune comes from the days of the haaf fishing, the deep sea line fishing of the 19th century. The sixareen men stayed in small houses called ‘lodges’ between trips out to sea. They could try to sleep in them too, but there wasn’t much room for the whole crew (6 men). So if any man was taking up too much room, the man next to him might say ‘Lay Dee At Dee!’ or ‘Move Over’.
Spencie’s Reel: Written in 1759, by a fiddler from Voe, John Anderson, who was playing at a Christmas dance in the house of Windhouse near Mid Yell. There were many women there by the name of Spence so he decided to name it Miss Spence’s Reel. This tune has come down to us from our forebears and we know it’s a little different now from 1759 as there is another version played in the Herra in Yell.
Da Headlands(Ronnie Cooper)/Da Gloup Lasses: A man named Horace Saxby came to live in Gloup in the early 1900s. He had previously been in the Canadian mounted police. One day in spring he came out to see Willie Barclay Henderson who was in the fields sowing corn. Saxby was anxious to teach him this tune, which he had composed. He couldn’t play the fiddle, so had to hum the tune over to Willie, correcting him as they went along. The tune quickly became popular with the local fiddlers.
Sleep Soond ida Mornin: A tune well liked by the old fiddlers in Cullivoe. It needs a good bow hand to play properly.
Speed the Plough: A tune well known all over Scotland, and one that fits in well with the Cullivoe style of playing.
Square da Mizzen: A local tune, named for another seafaring term.
Taste da Green: Played here by Angus Henry. The Yell version of this Shetland reel. the name refers to sheep getting to taste the first green grass at the start of the summer. This was said to be healthy and could cure a sick animal.
The Blackthorn Stick/Major Mackie/Bonnie Dundee: Three jigs from Ireland and Scotland that came to be popular in Yell for dances such as the Quadrilles and the Lancers in the early1900s after the public halls were built.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley/Meg Mirlies: Two fine Scots reels.
Da Heids o Vigon: Vigon is in the northwest corner of Yell. There is a narrow sea inlet there which has many partially submerged reefs and during one northwesterly gale a ship drove in and was wrecked. Some of the crew survived and one of them was a fiddler. He composed this tune to celebrate his survival
Oot an in da Harbour: A well known Shetland reel.
Lassie is da Bed made: This tune is known through Scotland as ‘The High Road to Linton’.
Faroe Polka: This polka came down to us from the playing of Nicky Tulloch. We think that it most likely came back to Shetland when Shetlanders went fishing off Faroe in the 1800s. The tune is popular throughout Scandinavia.
Swediclap: In the 19th century, a Swedish ship was stormbound for a time in Basta Voe. The crew taught the local people this tune along with a dance that goes with it. We showed this dance to a group of young people in Sweden in 2004, however they had never seen it before.
Captain Jim Cottier: A new tune written and played here by Barry Nisbet
Da Crab an da Capstan: A local tune from the days of sailing ships – a crab and a capstan were both bits of hauling gear
Had da Thing ta Gibbie: Another local reel - We never heard who Gibbie was or what thing it was that he’d been given!
Kenmuir’s Up and Awa/The New Riggit Ship/
Teviot Brig(Alexander Givan): Three more jigs that came to be popular fur the square dances.
Da Scallowa Lasses: A local version of this well known Shetland reel, played here by Danny Jamieson.
So Early In the Morning the Sailor Loves the Bottle O: This tune is known in other places by the name ‘da Wattle o it’. We wid like to thank Lell Robertson of the Herra in Yell ur his help with this tune.
John Spence of Uyeasound: (Wi’ll need ta aks eddir Ertir ir Steven Spence iboot dis een)
Noostigirt (Lady Mary Ramsay)(Neil Gow): This tune was played as a reel by a man from Noostigirt in Gloup. However, it is most likely a version of the strathspey, Lady Mary Ramsay, composed by Nathanial Gow. As the fiddlers were playing for reels, and not strathspeys, they altered the tempo.
(All tracks traditional unless otherwise stated.)