We Scots are very proud of Rabbie Burns. His fame and influence spread far beyond these shores. 25 January has been decreed Burns night; a night to celebrate the greatness of our National Bard and, ultimately, our Nation.
An unintended consequence of this celebration is the wheeling out of all sorts of spurious tartanry and shortbreadage. Music for this International PR opportunity is invariably delivered by 10,000,000 bagpipers in a windy glen or by beardy bejumpered individuals hey-nonny-no-ing in the faux back room of a pub.
This is all fine and good for the tourists, but it has little to do with what being Scottish means to me. So, I present my Bumper Burns Boom Box Bonanza:
Planets – Teenage Fanclub (from Songs from Northern Britain)
My favourite Scottish musical export. This makes me think about the night sky in the less busy parts of Scotland. Also, the sweepy synth part could easily be substituted for bagpipes (thanks TF for NOT doing that!).
Edinburgh Man – The Fall
You will not find a more touching and tender tribute to Edinburgh
Panic – The Smiths
By naming Dundee among the places in whose streets panic is spreading, Mozza symbolises Everytown. He’s obviously never been to Dundee.
Lucky Gilchrist – The Unthanks
‘Dragged up in the Glasgow rough…’ portrait of a loveable Glaswegian rogue – in my favourite time signature – with clog dancing in the live version.
Main theme from Gregory’s Girl – Colin Tully
This film exists innate in the Scottish psyche – even in those born before it was made. The theme to it is like birdsong, or the breeze in the trees, to us Scots.
Hallaig – Martyn Bennet ft, Sorley Maclean
Martyn Bennet, taken too soon, crafted a swirling Scottish universe of sound and overlaid an old recording of Sorley Maclean reciting his poem ‘Hallaig’. Works an absolute treat.
The Overload – Talking Heads
‘Too wee to even recognise.’ David Byrne betraying, and perhaps paying homage, to his own Caledonian roots with this use of the famous Scottish diminutive.
Salmon Fishing in New York – Orange Juice
Another ‘my favourite Scottish musical export’ this time alluding to the elusive and exclusive Scottish wildcat.
Synchronicity – The Police
If only for the way Sting toggles ‘Scottish lake’ to ‘Scottish loch’ to rhyme it with ‘kick in the crotch’
Frightened Rabbit – Scottish Winds
They tend to be a bit too ‘indy’ for my tastes but their love of Scotland and their pride at being Scottish is worn on their sleeve.
William Wallace – Horrible Histories
Historically accurate and rousing tribute to another one of our National heroes. A YouTube must-see.
Once again, I could have made the effort to provide links to these tunes on Youtube or Spotify, but once again I have not done so. Forgive me.