East Meets West


30th July 2015

I am thrilled to be involved with Hjaltibonhoga (Shetland Fiddlers), designing their costumes, for the second year, for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2015.

Congratulations to the Fiddlers on their fantastic performance at the preview night - and to Margaret Scollay, Dana and the whole support team. Being asked to return is a huge accolade and testament to their talent and hard work. Thanks also to all at Laurence Odie Knitwear for completing the order on time.

The 2015 Tattoo celebrates the theme of East Meets West with participants from the four continents. My brief, which at first seemed impossible, was Shetland meets Bollywood in Edinburgh! How to combine the strong culture of Shetland knitwear with glitzy, over the top Bollywood? Not only that but uniformity on stage, so the same costume for the men and women. A challenge alright but what a perfect fit…
 

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Hjaltibonhoga perform at the 2015 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, wearing bespoke Nielanell

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I have always been interested in designing with a fusion of cultures in mind.

 

My influences are global and many, from modern Japanese fashion designers to my own multi-cultural past – father Indian, mother Scottish, born and brought up in Canada, my brother and I are the (not so perfect) blend of East meets West!

 

Shetland has always had close attachments with other countries – fishermen, whalers and merchant seamen have for generations travelled the seas and encouraged their own families to mix with and learn from other cultures. The sea both binds us all together and separates us at the same time. 

 

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Hjaltibonhoga, aka Shetland Fiddlers, preview their 2015 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo set at Lerwick Town Hall on 29th June 2015... wearing bespoke Nielanell!

Photograph: Hjaltibonhoga

 

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news release
30.07.15:  download .pdf  >>

 

Press coverage

Shetland News 30.07.15

Fiddlers gear up for Tattoo >>

 

The Press and Journal 30.07.15

Shetland meets Bollywood at Edinburgh Tattoo >>

 

The Herald 03.08.15

Shetland knitwear brand Nielanell launch ...>>

 

Deadline News 30.07.15

Knitted saris will warm up Edinburgh Tattoo musicians >>

 

The Edinburgh Reporter 07.08.15
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2015 >>

 

Shetland Fiddlers on Facebook

 

Music too, has travelled by sea not only within the Shetland Isles but far beyond.

 

Shetland is like a crossing point musically - folk stop in Shetland with their music, leaving inspiration and style behind, whilst picking up some of our tunes and taking them back to their own homes.

Our own culture is also steeped in knit - lace and fair-isle patterns are world-renowned.  The textile industry is going from strength to strength in Shetland - and goes hand in hand with our strong musical tradition.
 

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The Hjaltibonhoga Fiddlers are the perfect ambassadors for Shetland - wherever they travel they carry the message of our music and knit on their strings.

 

Our aim is to spread the word world wide about the magical combination of music and knit that represents our past and our future.

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I have endeavoured to bring together these themes and concepts in the costume design. I have drawn from my own love of very simple, traditional dress.

 

The sarong, kilt, poncho and sari all are used in different cultures - East and West - to cover, clothe and protect the wearer. All are fashioned from a single piece of cloth - likely the most functional and versatile of all items of wear. So, would a man wear a knitted sari, I asked Margaret,“Yes, they wear a lot stranger for Up Helly Aa!” she replied.  So a sari it is.

The traditional lace knit pattern - which last year used fluorescent yarn to mimic the luminescent Mirrie Dancers - this year reminds us of the undulating sea that connects us with the rest of the world. The colours are chosen to complement the Scottish Pipers’ tartan, skirling and whirling together with our very talented fiddlers.

 

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News Release: 30 July 2015

Download .pdf >>

 

Shetland Meets Bollywood at the Tattoo

 

Shetland is once again being represented by Hjaltibonhoga (Shetland Fiddlers) at this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

 

The 2015 Tattoo, at Edinburgh Castle, celebrates the theme of East Meets West featuring participants from the four continents.

 

Lerwick Town Hall, on Wednesday 29 July, was the venue for the debut of the set the fiddlers will be playing and the reveal of the costumes.

 

Shetland knitwear design studio Nielanell has won the design commission, for the second year. The bespoke knitwear has been designed and made in the tiny village of Hoswick, where Nielanell and knitwear producer Laurence Odie and his team are based.

 

Designer Niela Kalra said: “Congratulations to the Fiddlers and the whole support team. Being asked to return is a huge accolade and testament to their talent and hard work. Thanks also to all at Laurence Odie Knitwear for their hard work in completing the order on time.”

 

The brief - Shetland meets Bollywood - at first seemed impossible. How to combine the strong culture of Shetland knitwear with glitzy, over the top Bollywood? Not only that but the same costumes for the men and women.

 

Miss Kalra explains, “I have always been interested in designing with a fusion of cultures in mind and Shetland has always had close attachments with other countries. Our culture is steeped in knit, and lace and fair-isle patterns are world-renowned. Music too, has travelled by sea within the Shetland Isles and far beyond.

 

“I have brought together these themes in the costume design, drawing from my own love of very simple, traditional dress. The sarong, kilt, poncho - and sari - all are used in different cultures - East and West - to cover, clothe and protect the wearer. All are fashioned from a single piece of cloth, likely the most functional and versatile of all items of wear. The colours, chosen to complement the Scottish Pipers’ tartan, and the traditional lace knit pattern remind us of the undulating sea that connects us with the rest of the world.”

 

The Tattoo, from 7-29 August, is an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the culture, and knitwear, of Shetland. It is a global showcase with groups from over 48 countries performing to an international audience plus an annual television audience of 100 million in more than 40 countries. 

 

Margaret Scollay of the Shetland Fiddlers Tattoo Working Group said: “We are delighted to be returning to the Tattoo, it’s a huge opportunity to introduce Shetland to the world and the atmosphere is incredible. The knitted saris capture the theme so well - the colours and design give uniformity to the group while giving the individual players the freedom to move and drape to suit.” 

 

 

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

 

Shetland Fiddlers: for more information or photography contact Margaret Scollay on 01595 840598.

 

Nielanell: for more information or photography contact Nielanell on 01950 431413 / 01950 431516 or Fiona Duff on 07917 692870.