Jump to content

RIP - Robert Nicolson, composer "Bonnie Shetland Isle"


Recommended Posts

I wanted to post this to tell anyone in Shetland who might remember my dad, that he had passed away recently.  I also wanted to post this in the music section of the forum.


Robert Nicolson, born in Scalloway 1947.


A few people reading this will know the song "Bonnie Shetland Isle",


Many people will not know that my dad, Robert, was the origional composer of the music and words to the song, Bonnie Shetland Isle.


Robert was born in Shetland and lived there whilst he was young with his sister, Carol, and his parents, John and Florence Nicolson. He often talked about his uncle Geordie Horne's exceptional ability on the guitar.

He always talked to me about Shetland throughout my life and he was always fiercely proud of being a Shetlander.


Robert was also very proud of his song. He collaborated with Mike Devine who recorded and released the song. Mike wrote verses 3 and 4.


Later he had mixed feelings about not finishing the verses himself, but, because he was so proud of his song about Shetland , which he loved, he was happy to Not be recognised if it was listened to.


Roughly 10 yrs ago, whilst in Lerwick for work, he called me late at night to say he had finished the song and was extremely chuffed with the way it sounded, I was delighted too.


I heard him play it a few times after it was finished, and played it too, but i remember being annoyed because he had the best guitar to play(his)


I have recorded the song the way i think my dad played it(to the best of my ability), this is the way he played it when there was enough lubrication going  to get the vocal chords going at daft o'clock in the morning and keep everyone going till the afternoon!


here is a link to listen to Roberts/my version of the song ;






Up helly Aa has gone for me

Northern lights over the sea.


R. Nicolson







Stewart Nicolson















Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

hi Robert, apologies for the long time since you posted this note, I have only just got to hear about this website...


I just wanted to let you know that this song meant so much to me when I lived in the shetlands...I still sing the words to myself 30 years after I left for the last time, so they were definitely memorable and captured what it mean to live in the shetlands...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...