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101 Scottish Songs (The Wee Red Book) St Andrews In The Square Celtic Connections, 21st Jan 2017

Back in 1962 a book of over 100 traditional Scottish folk songs was put together by Norman Buchan and published by Harper Collins. One of the most influential books of folk songs ever compiled which provided a foundation repertoire to many a young singer in the 60s. These songs were a collection of the most significant and influential traditional Scottish folk songs in 1962 and many are still widely sung today.  This concert showcased many of these popular songs.

A gathering of some 18 singers from throughout Scotland came together to share their experiences of this book and sing a song from it. The evening was organised by the Traditional Music and Song Association (TMSA) and emcee’d wonderfully by Janet Weatherston. The night reminded me of many a house party when each person would start a song and be joined by everyone else by the time you got to the chorus. With such an array of talent on show this was always going to be one of those memorable nights with the audience joining in with the chorus. I was not disappointed.

The singers in order of appearance were Gillian Frame, Fraser Bruce, Fiona Campbell, Ian Young, Barbara Dymock, Ewan Robertson, Abby Smith, Adam McNaughton, Amy Lord, Brian Miller,  Tom Spiers, Maggie Maclean, Tracey Boyd, Ian Bruce, Eilidh Campbell, Jimmy Hutchison,  Janice Clarke and Janet Weatherston.

This was a truly wondrous night of good Scottish music sung passionately and predominantly without musical accompaniment. The songs included The Lea Rig, Bleacher Lass of Kelvinhaugh ,Maggie Lauder, Haughs O’ Cromdale, Will You Marry Me and Beggar Man. One truly poignant moment was the legendary Adam McNaughton leading everyone in Yellow On The Broom. This man who immortalised The Jeelie Piece has lost none of his magic and the sell out audience loved every moment of is any everyone else’ singing.

Danny Matheson