What others say about Shooglenifty …
It was wonderful to feature Shooglenifty in the Auckland Arts Festival. The energetic and dynamic musical offering that the band generously gave to our Auckland audiences was full of joy and delight.
We can’t wait to see you return to Bluesfest……..in fact, we are counting the days.
Shooglenifty were a great fresh way to start Bluesfest 2016 Day 4. Their Celtic flavours are not often heard at Bluesfest. A great contrast and way to refresh the ears, kind of like sniffing a coffee bean in between wine tasting. With a fiddle, banjo, mandolin, drums, guitar and bass these guys from Scotland had the audience experimenting with their best River Dance impersonations and moving in energetic ways that are not your usual Bluesfest hip swinging standard. With beautiful tunes, jigs and reels that branched out to sound almost middle eastern and esoteric at times, this band can really get you dancing.
Legendary Shoogle fiddler Angus Grant – boasting one of the most recognisable beards this side of hipsterdom – wasted little time announcing they were “gonna play some dance tunes to keep you warm.” And keep the audience toasty they did, serving up a slew of fast-paced ‘nifty tunes that had many gasping for air (or was it whisky?) Whatever the case, the Edinburgh acid-crofters both rounded off 2015 and kick-started 2016 in true, shoogling style.
Only recently I’ve started appreciating the amazing creativity of others of who have found a way of blending tradition and the new in their own unique way. I’m glad I came at it this way though, because it gives me a deeper understanding of how what I’m hearing came together and I must say, having gone through the back catalogue on Spotify I think The Untied Knot is my favourite! James [Mackintosh]’s drumming in particular is completely immaculate and I count him as one of the very best drummers in the country (a really rare thing indeed). The grooves he provides and the tempos etc. are always spot on.
Shooglenifty were one of the taste-makers and boundary-breakers of the Scottish trad music scene of the 90s and were one of the acts that helped give Scotland a powerful voice on the world music scene, from the early days right up to the present day. Venus in Tweeds remains one of my all-time classic albums and it always delights me to know that the legendary Grant fiddlers – Aonghas and Angus R. – can count one of Gaeldom’s ultimate tradition bearers and one of the Shoogle creators of ‘acid croft’ as father-and-son. Just as it should be – roots and futures as one.
Still sounding fresh and innovative, and a great way to close any festival.
Shooglenifty were fantastic on the Saturday and had a hugely appreciative and happy crowd – one of many highlights from the weekend.
Shooglenifty invented a totally new and spellbinding way of playing ultimately Highland music as a modern groove-based entity. Along with Martyn Bennett they transformed this ancient music with respect and vision. 25 years on they continue to blaze a trail of ‘acid-croft’ that no others can touch.
Shooglenifty keep pushing the boundaries of ‘Scottish’ music, and we were proud to be able to bring them to work with Lebanese and Iraqi musicians in Lebanon in 2011. The Shoogle sound is unique, but it taps into the universal urge to dance!
Shooglenifty are the leading lights in Scotland’s inventive music scene. From the early nineties to current day they have led the pack with innovative arrangements, brilliant tunes and true worldwide appeal.
They are the nicest and gentlest of people, and then they go on stage to become monster musicians. It is always a joy and pleasure to work with them and to have them. They have been to Malaysia several times now – star performances each and everyone.
I can still remember the deep shock (and seething indignation!) I felt when I discovered that traditional music could be funky. It was nearly 25 years ago and I was trying to look inconspicuous, hiding at the back of a dark, dank cellar in Edinburgh as Shooglenifty took to the stage. Until this point I’d had a very narrow view of folk music and was expecting some kind of Jimmy Shand with a drum machine routine. But it wasn’t like that. The Shoogles started with a soulful Celtic techno rumba and I watched in horror as my feet started to move spasmodically and my knees, normally so reliable, began to vibrate wildly. (This was before Riverdance.) I grudgingly realised that resistance was futile and within ten minutes I was in front of the stage, doing what could loosely be descrbed as dancing and grinning like an idiot. I’m sure Shooglenifty have performed this service for many more people over the years and I, for one, would like to thank them.