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Review: Dunedin tae Auld Reekie, Glasgow Art Club, Wednesday 21 January

Dunedin, New Zealand’s south island’s second largest city’s name is derived from the Edinburgh’s Gealic name, Dùn Duedin, and was, in fact, founded by a nephew of Robert Burns whose statue is in the city square. The two cities met in song this evening in one of Glasgow’s architectural gems.

Hosted by Gareth Farry, New Zealand’s arts manager, this informal if somewhat chaotic gig blended poetry with song.

Andy Grey started the proceedings with a McGoneglesque poem which did not win the award intended since he had not included the entry form. Nice to know other people do such things. After songs including those from his Scottish great grandfather , he concluded his section with a song about a chore – simply getting through the day.

Edinburgh’s own Dean Owens followed accompanied by Cally Brown on guitar. We heard lots of new material including his recent discovery about one of his recent ancestors, Dora, who ran a gypsy circus. Life is full of surprises.

Robyn Marsack, director of The Scottish Poetry Library, a Kiwi living in Scotland, followed with a brief selection of  poems. ‘The Heather And The Fern’ by Tom Brooking and one about the Burns statue in Dunedin are classics!

Jake Cropley, a young man with a big voice followed with a selection of mainly his own songs including one about Bob Dylan which was a particular cracker as was his interpretation of ‘My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose’.

After the interval Dean Owens (pictured) returned followed by Jake Cropley. Dean’s song about his father, ‘The Man From Leith’ has been a one of my favourites for years, Jake sang his composition ‘On Forever Yea Shall Go’ which won a school competition for the song of the Commonwealth Games baton arriving in New Zealand.

One last note to the Glasgow Art Club, and it must be said. The temperature inside the room was like that outside: freezing. The audience was wearing jackets and scarves. Heating in future please!

Bill Morris

Presenter, Celtic Music Radio 95FM

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