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Up-Helly-Aa CD

The master tapes of the original 1980 vinyl recording of the Up Helly Aa songs featuring the Lerwick Brass Band and Registered Squad No 1 have now been carefully restored and remastered digitally and have been released in CD format and in addition to the CD release, a special limited edition of the original 1980 vinyl format which will also include the CD version is available.

This recording had been thought to be lost for over thirty years and is the only authentic version of the three festival songs which are sung at many of Shetland’s fire festivals. The CD also includes all the lyrics of the songs, a bonus track of the full length version of the Up Helly Song and a description of the Lerwick festival by G.H. Burgess.

With the assistance of well-known Shetland recording engineer Billy Kay a recording was made of the three Up-Helly-Aa favourites featuring music from the Lerwick Brass Band and vocals from registered squad number 1, commonly known at the time as the ‘teachers’ squad’. It was released as an 7-inch EP record under Galley Records in 1980. The recording ‘studio’ was the Bell’s Brae Primary School gym hall.

The first task was to establish whether the recordings were in a good enough condition to be remastered as it was feared the integrity of the tapes might have deteriorated over the years. The expertise of audio restoration and mastering engineer Dave Sinton of Dunkinty Audio in Unst was used to restore and remaster the audio tapes.

More Information about Shetland’s fire festivals can be obtained here: