Jenna Reid

A Chat With...Jenna Reid

This week, we are chatting with Shetland fiddle player and composer, Jenna Reid.

Quick bio

Instrument(s): Fiddle (piano, voice)
Your band(s) or collaborations that we should know about: Blazin’ Fiddles, solo work with Harris Playfair
Number of years on the folk scene: 22 years 
Greatest achievement or claim to fame: 6 solo albums, 2 Scots Trad Awards, 12 years in Blazin’ Fiddles 

What are you currently working on, and what’s in the pipeline for the coming year?

A brand new solo album called ‘One Day’ recorded in 1 day – on the 2nd May 2022. It launches on the 25.1.23 at the Celtic Connections festival. I’m joined by fellow Shetlander and pianist, Harris Playfair. A new album this year for Blazin’ Fiddles. Back to full touring since covid and some lovely gigs coming up this year.

If someone is reading this who hasn’t listened to any of your music before, where should they start?

Perhaps with ‘Working Hands’ – my last album. I wrote the album for piano, fiddle, string quintet and percussion. It’s the first scored album I have written and its a piece of work I’m really proud of. I invited Mr McFall’s Chamber to play alongside me and Harris.

What’s on your playlist at the moment, and why does it appeal to you?

I’m listening to the new album from Su-a Lee. ‘Dialogues’. I was honoured to guest with her alongside many other musicians and singers. It’s a beautiful piece of work

Which folk albums, in your opinion, should everyone listen to at least once, and why?

Any of the Capercaillie records. I grew up listening to them and they were a huge influence on me. Capercaillie lead singer Karen Matheson recently toured with Blazin’ Fiddles as our guest singer and it was just magical.

Where are you most ‘at one’ with your instrument?

Really and truly, performing. I think its a mix of the energy in the room, being with your bandmates and doing the thing you love the most.

Please tell us about your practice regime, or how you keep developing as an instrumentalist.

I try to play as often as I can, its tricky with a young family. Slow and deliberate practise has always seen me through tricky passages and I try and promote that with my own students.

What’s the most nerve-wracking thing you’ve done (musically), and what did you learn from it?

In 2010 my sister and I wrote a suite of music in memory of the ‘Shetland Bus’ – the WW2 sailings that took place under the cover of darkness between Shetland and occupied Norway. In particularly about a man called Jan Baalsrud. Our first performance was at the Celtic Connections festival. It was sold out and the Mayor of Norway had come over to hear the show. Following that we travelled to Norway to perform and played to the nephew of Jan; Nils Ole Baalsrud. An incredibly humbling experience.

What’s your dream band line-up (dead or alive)?

Willie Hunter (my teacher), Cathal Hayden and Tim Edey.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a musician?

Take your time

To satisfy the instrument/equipment geeks amongst us, please tell us a little about the gear you use to make music.

I use a DPA mic on my fiddle. A mix of strings, Jarger E, Infeld A and Larsen D & G.

Find out more:

Further Listening

Here’s Jenna playing one of our favourite tunes, Bethany’s Waltz

Blazin’ Fiddles

Su-a Lee ‘Dialogues”


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