What an excellent concert!
With a top line up of singers backed by the quality playing of the Scottish chamber orchestra and house band, consisting of Donald Shaw, fiddler John McCusker. The concert was recorded for Radio Scotland. Of course performing the much loved Burns songs with a top orchestra and quality singers was bound to be a winner and everyone was on top form tonight.
From Northern Ireland, piper and singer Jarlath Henderson, impressed with one of my best loved Burns songs, Westlin Winds. “One of the best songs ever written, it says all there is to say.” quote from folk singer Dick Gaughan (I missed his powerful voice). Henderson also performed one his own compositions and an excellent vocal on, Green Grow the Rashes O.
Eddi Reader was cheered on stage and she sang – Jamie Come Try Me, Red Red Rose, and Charlie is My Darling - backed by the orchestra. After which Shona Donaldson sang a poignant Highland Widow’s Lament and the Slaves Lament, plus the more upbeat and rhythmic Rattlin Roarin Willie.
For the grand finale Reader sang her passionate interpretation of Ae Fond Kiss and for a glorious finish with Auld Lang Syne and with the audience on their feet after such an enjoyable night.
Burns was a great romantic poet and wrote some of the world’s greatest love songs - but also so much more. He cared deeply on many issues – the Rights of Man (and women), his love and caring of nature, keeping Scots traditions alive, song collecting, equality, freedom and democracy.
He was passionate about his song collecting but he was also a radical and reformer. His heroes from boyhood were freedom fighters. He also wrote one of the world’s best known and loved songs of equality - A Mans a Man for a That, which is sung today all over Europe, Canada and beyond.
Jarlath Henderson, is an Irish folk musician. He is a Uilleann piper, guitar, Cittern, low whistle and flute and winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young folk award 2003.