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Bongshang logo.jpg
Background information
OriginShetland, Scotland
GenresFolktronica, Celtic fusion
Years active1991–present
LabelsIona, Doovf, EMI, Bleatbeat
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersJJ Jamieson
Bryan Peterson
Peter Gear
Jonny Polson
Archer Kemp
Past membersChristopher Anderson
Leonard Scollay
Neil Preshaw
Gordon Tulloch
Andrew Gray

Bongshang are a Scottish band from Shetland, who fuse traditional Shetland and folk styles with rock, funk, electronica and contemporary production techniques. They have been likened to Celtic fusion artists such as Shooglenifty and Martyn Bennet.

Bongshang have recorded three studio albums to date (Crude, The Hurricane Jungle and Vy-lo-fone), made numerous TV appearances,[1] licensed tracks for TV, featured on several compilation albums and toured the UK and Europe extensively, playing with artists such as Rory Gallagher, Joan Baez, Capercaillie, Alan Stivell, Aly Bain and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

History and personnel[edit]

Members have included banjo player JJ Jamieson (ex member of Hexology (with Harry Horse) and The Critter Hill Varmints) who has been part of every incarnation of the band, fiddler Leonard Scollay (winner of the Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year competition, BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist and ex member of Shetland band Rock, Salt & Nails) and fiddler Peter Gear (also winner of the Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year competition).

Bongshang were formed in 1991 after JJ Jamieson visited Shetland whilst on tour with The Critter Hill Varmints, decided to stay and recruited musicians from the local bands he heard; fiddler Leonard Scollay, bassist Bryan Peterson (then only 15), drummer Christopher 'Kipper' Anderson and guitarist Mark Gibbons. Gibbons later emigrated to Australia and was replaced by Neil Preshaw. This line-up released the debut album Crude in 1993, recorded in the back room of the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick.

Bongshang toured frequently around this time regularly headlining concerts and festivals such as Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Nantes Celtica and Celtic Connections.

Scollay left to concentrate on touring with Rock, Salt & Nails and was replaced by fiddler Peter Gear who brought a new sound to the band with his use of the Skyinbow electric violin, and Gear and Preshaw began to make extensive use of effects processors during gigs. Bongshang's live appearances became less frequent during this period, preferring the studio environment in Shetland where they were able to experiment with multilayering instruments, samples and loops. Bongshang recorded The Hurricane Jungle with this line-up, released in 1996.

Preshaw and Peterson moved to Glasgow soon after and were replaced by guitarist Gordon Tulloch and bassist Andrew Gray. Scollay returned to the live line-up and for a time the band featured two fiddles. Gear left before the band recorded the Vy-lo-fone album in 1999, a fusion of electronic beats and banjo driven tunes.

Bongshang continued to make rare live appearances through the noughties with Peterson and Gray sharing bass duties and Gear and/or Scollay on fiddle.

The current line up is reported to feature Shoormal drummer Archer Kemp and guitarist Jonny Polson with Jamieson, Peterson and Gear.

In 2010 film production company B4 Films published a webpage which seemed to indicate the band were working on a feature film soundtrack[2]

In 2011, members of the band collaborated with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on a piece of music performed on the island of Foula, the UK's most remote inhabited islands, and broadcast live on the Internet.[3]

In 2013 Bongshang released a series of videos accompanied by new compositions (see Discography) including a screening to an audience in Mareel during the 'Back From Beyond' project concert.[4]


  • Bongshang described themselves as playing "punk trad folk rock" in an interview with Candy Schwartz. She described the sound as "Bo Diddley with ferocious breaks" and "fine fiddling"[9]
  • The Shetland Music website wrote that Bongshang "took traditional influences by the scruff of the neck way back when, and catapulted them into a whole new realm of cool respectability"[10]
  • The Boston Phoenix wrote that Bongshang "brings to mind Iggy Pop with a banjo"[11]
  • FolkWorld magazine described Bongshang as "folk-pop fusion"[12]
  • The Scottish Music Centre described Bongshang as combining "traditional Shetland music and modern hard-edged dance rhythm"[1]
  • A website related to the history of Acidcroft noted that "Bongshang are to say the least reclusive and shy away from publicity... they are fast becoming the stuff of Urban myth and legend"[13]


Studio albums[edit]




  1. ^ a b "Industry Directory". Scottish Music Centre. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  2. ^ "Bongshang". Between Weathers. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  3. ^ "In pictures: Orchestral manoeuvres in the north". The Scotsman. 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  4. ^ "Explore, Create & Share". Back From Beyond. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  5. ^ MOJO magazine #29 April 1996 p97-8
  6. ^ Folk Roots magazine March 1996
  7. ^ Folk Roots magazine July 2000
  8. ^ "Bongshang". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  9. ^ "Celtic Connection '95". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  10. ^ "Bongshang". Shetland Music. 2014-05-22. Archived from the original on 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  11. ^ "Folk 'N Hell". 1997-08-07. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  12. ^ "FolkWorld CD Reviews". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  13. ^ "acidcroft". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  14. ^ "various artists, Folk'n Hell". Rambles. 2004-07-31. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  15. ^ "Living Tradition CD review of Indigenous Tribes". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  16. ^ "News". Scottish Music Centre. 2006-06-03. Archived from the original on 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  17. ^ "Catalogue". Scottish Music Centre. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  18. ^ [1] Archived February 9, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Records of the week - The Scotsman". 2004-07-10. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  20. ^ "The authentic sound of Shetland (Musical CD, 2011)". []. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2014-08-20.