Welcome to a captivating journey into the heart of Shetland’s rich musical heritage, where traditions and community intertwine in a harmonious dance. Explore the inner workings of Shetland’s epistemological tradition of music-making, the Spree. 

The Spree Tradition

Imagine a place where music transcends mere notes and melodies to become a way of knowing and being, shared across generations. The Spree isn’t just about music; it’s a tapestry that weaves together social experiences, horizontality, interpersonal knowledge, and nuanced character appreciation. It’s a fluid, living entity that defies static definitions, rooted in the dynamic interplay of personal expressions and shared principles.

A Community of Harmony

At the heart of Shetland’s musical landscape lies the concept of horizontality, an ethos that welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. This spirit of inclusivity fosters a close-knit social support network, where individuals aren’t confined by competitive individualism but thrive in an environment founded on equality and collaboration. The Spree tradition acts as a unifying force, binding locals and outsiders alike in a celebration of creativity and shared values.

Beyond Boundaries

Tradition here does not mean stagnation. The Spree tradition isn’t confined to the past; it thrives in the present and eagerly embraces the future. Openness to external influences enriches this tradition, allowing it to adapt and evolve while maintaining its core principles. This isn’t a static preservation of the past, but a dynamic embrace of change that keeps the tradition vibrant and relevant.

Shetland’s Musical Mosaic

Dr. Ferrari-Nunes’ research highlights the interconnectedness of Shetland’s music scene and its societal fabric. By engaging and working alongside locals, and documenting the music scene, he unveils how personal experiences are woven into the larger narrative of Shetland’s cultural identity. The tradition of the Spree emerges as a cornerstone, a practice that encapsulates the essence of Shetland’s musical epistemology and serves as a beacon of communal understanding.

Embracing Diversity

Shetland’s music isn’t a monolithic entity; it’s a diverse tapestry that embraces individuality. Each person contributes their unique idiosyncrasies, life stories, and skills, creating a symphony of voices that harmonize within the Spree tradition. This appreciation for diversity challenges conventional notions of tradition, encouraging us to move beyond static ideals and embrace the dynamic interplay of past, present, and future.

Dr. Ferrari-Nunes’ exploration of Shetland’s musical epistemology offers a glimpse into a world where music isn’t just a performance—it’s a way of life. The Spree tradition encapsulates the essence of Shetland’s cultural identity, binding generations together through principles of horizontality, inclusivity, and adaptability. In this ever-changing world, perhaps there’s much we can learn from the Shetland Spree — a reminder that tradition and innovation do not have to be at odds, but can dance together in harmony.

PhD Thesis

SPREE: Shetland’s Epistemological Tradition of Music Making

Original Blog with Ethnographic Materials

SPREE: Shetland’s Epistemological Tradition of Music Making