I recently photographed well known Shetland band Da Fustra after they became Scottish Dance Band of the Year at the 2014 Scots Trad Music Awards evening in Inverness. Well done guys – a terrific achievement.
Below is an interview from founding member of Da Fustra Cecil Hughson.
Tell us about yourself
Da Fustra celebrated its 45th birthday on 17th October this year. Founder member and bass player Cecil Hughson is still with the band, and the lineup has remained constant for over 6 years, with accordionist James Leask, Alan Gifford on fiddle, and Alan’s son Kevin on drums. Dereck Hendry is still on piano, having been with the band for the past 25 years. The band remains very popular throughout Shetland, playing for weddings and dances from Unst in the north to Fair Isle in the south.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
We all grew up listening to Scottish Dance Music, so it was always going to be our thing. We love to see the floor fill with dancers, but were a bit concerned a dozen or so years ago that our type of music might become less popular with the younger generation. Happily this trend has reversed, and we now play regularly at highly enjoyable school dances. Our band members have been heavily involved with the Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Club, and have felt very encouraged as we have seen the likes of Bryan Gear and Alan Nicolson progress from talented learners to Scottish Dance Music “superstars”.
Any particular career highlights?
We have had many great gigs over the years, and are encouraged by the number of repeat bookings which come in. One example is the popular Lerwick Lifeboat Ball – we have played for this for over 30 years. Our longest-running booking has been the annual Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa Dance, where we have played for 37 consecutive years. We have also had fantastic trips to Orkney and the Scottish Mainland, probably the most memorable being this year’s Saturday dance at the Perth Festival. Our only trip abroad was to the Faroe Islands, where we had the services of the late, great Davie Flockhart.
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to continue as we are for as many years as possible. We also hope, as we often have some of Shetland’s talented young musicians stand in with us, that they will gain valuable experience in a working band which still loves playing. By doing this we believe that there will be a bright future for Scottish Dance music.
BBC Radio Scotland – Catgut & Ivory link
Puffin Music – Da Fustra link