top of page

The article below appeared in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo programme and media coverage.

Hjaltibonhoga - The Shetland Fiddlers

As the United Kingdom's most northerly community, Shetland is proud of both her Viking ancestry and Scottish history.


These combined cultures have moulded the unique identity of the islands in many ways respects but not least in that of the tradition of fiddle playing, for which the Shetland Isles are renowned worldwide.

Hjaltibonhoga, which means 'Shetland, my spiritual home', is representative of both the community and county, and is proud to represent Shetland's international language - her traditional fiddle music.


The Islands' remoteness from mainstream influences have created a near-unique playing style and repertoire. Traditionally the fiddler held many important ceremonial roles but music was primarily a catalyst for dancing.

Wherever they are in the world, Shetlanders remain loyal to their roots, none more so than Arthur Anderson, who is being celebrated tonight with his eponymous reel.  First serving in the Royal Navy and ultimately becoming Chairman of P&O Shipping until his death in 1868, Arthur used his good fortune to better his home Islands.  He founded schools and a refuge for the widows of Shetland's fishermen and seamen, among many other benefits he brought to his native Shetland.

Tonight Hjaltibonhoga celebrate the place and people of Shetland, their hardy spirit and the sea which surrounds them with the tunes 'Hillswick', 'Arthur Anderson's Reel', 'The Spirit of Whisky' and 'Oot and In da Harbour'.


Here's some photos from our month in Edinburgh.  Or, have a look at our updates from the Tattoo here.

bottom of page