Watch this short 11 minute documentary film about 'Da Fishing Hands' premiere on Fair Isle in 2014. Featuring Inge Thomson and her band and filmed by Andy Crabb and Peter Cutts (Cape Farewell).



We are pleased to announce that the recently released 'DA FISHING HANDS' CD by Inge Thomson featuring lyrics by Lise Sinclair is now available to purchase on Inge's website http://www.ingethomson.com/.

Proceeds from sales of the CD will go to help the support the work of FIMETI.


CD introduction by Inge Thomson -

"Fair Isle launched a tireless campaign to gain marine protected status some years ago. It became quite a journey, bringing an already tight community even closer in the common cause of safeguarding our beloved sea. With Nick Riddiford at the helm the whole island got behind the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) set up to monitor and steward our evironment for the good of all.

"Da Fishing Hands" is a marine term, meaning fishing grounds, areas where you could be guaranteed to find a good catch. Finding the exact location of these hands required a deep knowledge of the isle geography, the cliff faces, stacks and ocean topography. This information was passed dpwn through the generations.

More recently, with the falling of fish stocks, this age old knowledge has been passed on less frequently, as many of the 'hands' are now barren. My sister-in-law Emma Perring, with help from the local sea folk, and what physical evidence remained, drew up a new map of the grounds, in order to preserve this cultural detail. Emma also held a pivotal role in bringing the musical element of this project to life.

Da Fishing Hands musical life began as an idea to use the map, as a graphic score for melodic instruments. Inge approached her cousin Lise with the proposition of creating a body of music underlining the cause, the love, the lives of all who were feeling the impact of the changing environment. Lise was an extraordinary wordsmith, her deep connection with the elements evident in all her work. We started building songs from the ground up. It became clear pretty quickly that a whole body of angular, jagged tunes may be a little specialist for most listeners so we chose several motifs and worked around them. A highlight for me was conducting interviews with isle folk, to glean some personal insight, views from different angles. I didn't know this at the time, but this was to be the last time I worked together in a room with Lise. We lost her in the summer after a short battle with a ferocious brain tumour. An island's heart broke.

This project would never have continued had I not been invited to join Cape Farewell's north isles expedition on The Swan, a beautifully restored Fife boat built in Shetland in 1900. An overnight journey through dramatic seas brought me home again to an encouraging island family. I finished my part in the project without Lise, but her inspiration has carried me through and onwards."

Thanks from Inge Thomson go to:

Emma Perring. The people of Fair Isle (all of them). David Taylor and all at Creative Scotland. Ruth Little and all at Cape Farewell. Shetland Arts. Mareel. Tim Matthew. Iain Waddell. Stuart Hamilton. Calum Malcolm. David Milligan. Kris Drever an Louise Thomason. Thomas Green. Davie Garner. Floortje Robertson. David Liddell. Karen Polwart. The Swan. The Good Shepherd. Gina Rae. Mary Macmaster. Amy Geddes. Neil Riddle. Martin Simpson. Gordon Potts.

Massive thanks to my away team: Fraser Fifield, Sarah Hayes, Steven Polwart, Ben Seal an Graeme Smillie. Big love to you all.

The biggest thanks go to my home team: Martin, Ewen and Edie Green. My angels. 

In memory of Lise Sinclair.


Interview with Inge Thomson and review of 'DA FISHING HANDS' performance at CELTIC CONNECTIONS. 

Article by Sue Wilson in Sunday Herald/Life (pages 8 and 9) on 18.1.2015. pdf.








A new body of music by Fair Isle composer and musician Inge Thomson featuring lyrics by Fair Isle's much loved poet and musician Lise Sinclair.

"We come and we go like breath that flickers,

for a moment on the ocean's face..."

Da Fishing Hands is a collection of songs and instrumental pieces commissioned by the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) highlighting the influence of Fair Isle's marine heritage and to raise the awareness of the significance of the sea in the survival of an island community.



Inge Thomson - Vocals, accordian, electronics

Sarah Hayes - Vocals, flute

Fraser Field - Sax, kaval, whistles

Steven Polwardt - Guitarist

Graeme Smilie - Bass


- Blown Away by Da Fishing Hands - Review, Shetland News -

- Inge's shows inspired by Fair Isle's fishing history - Feature, Shetland News


'Da Fishing Hands', Inge Thomson & FIMETI - Including videos (Tommy's Blogspot)


Text & photographs Copyright Fair Isle Marine Environment & Tourism Initiative. All rights reserved.


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