Monday, 30 April 2018

Scottish festivals & MUSIC 2018

Broken Records Queens Hall Edinburgh
Music revenues are up, with more formats than ever before, but still a third down on the peak of 2002.

25% are spent into A & R to develop new music and it is crucially important to have investment in new talent coming through and for the grassroots to be supported. Also important to have curators.
We have to ask - can we be passive or engage in shaping our own choices?

Blue Rose Code -
Father John Misty -


**There are many great festivals Scotland lined up for the summer 2018 –

Nile Rodgers presents a new festival Kelvingrove park Glasgow.
"FIESTA & FOLD" - 30th June - 1st July -

Doune the Rabbit hole – 13th – 15th July -

MugStock – 27th – 30th July -

TRNSMT – Glasgow Green –

Belladrum festival, Inverness – 2nd – 4th August -

Edinburgh festival 2018 – 3rd – 27th August -
Nile Rodgers & Irvine Welsh
On radio Scotland Rodgers spoke of his excitement over his new festival, and playing with good mates Earth wind and Fire at Glasgow’ Kelvinggrove park.
I met Nile at Edinburgh book festival a few year back and he did an awesome fun talk there with his guitar in the Spiegel tent! Earth Wind and Fire and Chic! Great fun!

George Buchanan Father of Democracy

A short distance from my home there is a monument in the small town of KiIlearn to one of the most important writers on democracy, reformer George Buchanan. 

He was one of the most significant literary and political figures of the 16th century -  poet, playwright, historian, humanist scholar, and teacher to the great French essayist Michel de Montagne, Mary Queen of Scots and later to her son James VI of Scotland and I of England (United Kingdom.)

Buchanan was a native Gaelic speaker from lower loch Lomond. He was deeply impressed that the Gael had held on to their language and culture for more than two thousand years. He was a Catholic, who was committed himself to the Reformation, and he joined the Reformed Protestant church in 1560s and published
In his article, The birth of the Democratic Intellect, professor Alan Raich, (National July 2017) discussed the importance of Buchanan’s writings. Buchanan wrote De Jure Regni apud Scotos, published in 1579 - one of the most important books in all British (or European) literature on democracy for all. It is originally the most essential text in our understanding of the constitution and the state. (how many of us have heard of it?)
“His book follows the Declaration of Arbroath (1320) in saying that all political power resides in the people, and it must reside in the people: and that it is lawful and necessary to resist kings (or queens, or we might say all rulers) if (or when) they become tyrants.
Buchannan was basing his argument at least partly on his understanding of the clan system. There were many attempts to suppress his work, in the century following – particularly by the king he tutored and he foresaw where stupid Stewart vanity would lead. He was a major player  in the European cultural context.”
monument to George buchanan at Killearn

George Buchanan 1508 - 1582 was a Scottish historian and humanist
Buchanan was "the most profound intellectual sixteenth century Scotland produced." His ideology of resistance to royal usurpation gained widespread acceptance during the Scottish Reformation. Keith Brown says the ease with which King James VII was deposed in 1689 shows the power of Buchananite ideas.
His father, a Highlander and a younger son of an old family, owned the farm of Moss, in the parish of Killearn but he died young, leaving his widow, five sons, and three daughters in poverty. George's mother, Agnes Heriot, was of the family of the Heriots of Trabroun, of which George Heriot, founder of Heriots hospital was also a member. Buchanan, a native speaker of Gaelic. In 1520 he went to the university of Paris and studied logic under John Mair.
In 1528 Buchanan graduated M.A. at Scots college, University of Paris. The next year he was appointed regent or professor, in the, College of Sainte-Barbe and taught there for over three years. Sainte-Barbe was one of the most prestigious and advanced colleges at that time. George added to that prestige by creating new reforms in teaching Latin. In 1529 he was elected "Procurator of the German Nation" in the University of Paris, and was re-elected four times in four successive months. He resigned his regentship in 1531, and in 1532 became tutor to Gilbert Kennedy, 3rd Earl of Cassilis with whom he returned to Scotland early in 1537. Though a layman, he was made Moderator of the General assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1567. He had sat in the assemblies from 1563.

The importance of the work is proved by the persistent efforts of the legislature to suppress it during the century following its publication. It was condemned by and act of parliament in 1584

In the lead-up to the anniversary Professor Roger Mason of the University of St Andrews has published A Dialogue on the Law of Kingship among the Scots, a critical edition and translation of George Buchanan's 'De Iure Regni apud Scotos Dialogus.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Karine Polwart wins Folk Award

One of our top singer songwriters Karine Polwart has won one of the top prizes at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Karine was named Folk Singer of the Year at the ceremony in Belfast,

Also winners were Scots singers Siobhan Miller and Mohsen Amini.

I’ve seen Karine at several top concerts – at the Tall Ship, Oran Mor, Celtic Connections concerts and more.  

Last year Karine put on an award winning theatre show call Wind Resistance. Also highly recommend her Traces album. She has a powerful voice and also meaningful stories to tell.

Karine Polwart & Julie Fowlis
Dick Gaughan & Karine Polwart

Friday, 30 March 2018

The Lies History Tells Us: the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Divided Europe in 1648

**History is written by the victors who often tell lies and there are many mistruths or lies told in our British histories. The English civil wars – were really the 10 years “Wars of the Three Kingdoms!” So what is the real story of the Union of the Crowns and Union of the Parliament?  I’ve been reading of the histories we are not taught – the important Westminster Confessions (1646), the War of the Three Kingdoms (1638 – 1651) and the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648) and of Elizabeth Stuart. Our history has been deliberately skewed to ignore Scotland’s part. 

What’s the strange and turbulent story of these islands of Britain  - a story of turbulence, interconneedness, drama, misunderstandings, aggression, suppression, co-operation – hope. And royal inter marriage. I was surprised to read of the importance of Elizabeth Stuart, I'd never heard of her.  Henry Tudor had his daughter  Margaret Tudor married to James IV.  His granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots son James VI became James I of England, Ireland and Scotland. Followed by Charles I, Cromwell (who suppressed Ireland), Charles II,  William of Orange and Mary I, Mary II, Ann.
 Importantly at the time of the Westminster Confessions, Scotland and England were equal partners. During Charles I reign a terrible religious strife tore Europe apart – the Thirty Years war. James I and VI had his popular charismatic daughter Elizabeth married to Frederick of Palatine, an important Calvinist. She is well known as the Winter Queen, who held court in the Hague and Prague. Her grandson was George of Hanover. Ah now I understand the connections. 

We’ve been fed disinformation and not told the truth. Does this matter? Well in our perception of the union today it matters greatly. In 1603 Scotland’s population was 1m and England’s was 5m.

The Westminster Confessions was massively significant. It took 3 years to draw up, 1643 – 1646, with standards of doctrine, confessions and catechisms which were adopted by both the Church of Scotland and Church of England. This was a joint declaration – drawn up to secure the help of the Scots against the King Charles I.
Elizabeth Stuart

Charles had attempted to impose the Anglican bible on the Scots years earlier in 1636 and the Scots would have none of it and war broke out in 1638. This was the start of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms – and NOT the English Civil wars as we have been told – not at all! The English parliament raised armies in alliance with the Scottish Covenanters.

At this time the Thirty Years War was raging over Europe. James VI had Elizabeth Stuart (his popular, charismatic daughter) married Frederick of Palatine in 1613 – an important Calvinist in the wars. And her grandson was George of Hanover. Charles I was executed in 1649 after the war fo the Three Kingdoms. 

In 1652 Charles II came back from France, he fought and lost – down near Worcester, where he hid in an oak tree. I visited the pub he was at last year! And was forced to flee again. After 10 years of Cromwell’s rule (he also invaded Ireland, which led to great disruption there) after he died his son was deposed and Charles II was brought back.

Henry Stuart
James I and VI (1567 - 1625)
II   When the union of Parliaments happened in 1707 – Scotland was to keep its ‘sovereignty’ of the people - to keep its Kirk, legal system and education. Scotland’s Protestant kirk was about people interpreting the bible for themselves which meant that every parish was to have a school to teach reading. The great teacher George Buchanan wrote about democracy for the people. 

This meant that sovereignty lay with the people – and not with any Westminster parliament and quite different to the English Anglican church. In 1696 the Scottish parliament act for setting of schools locally funded, church supervised schools for every parish. Discussion of interpretations and understanding of the bible became a way of life. 
George Buchanan
**A HUNDRED YEARS LATER - So what were the Jacobite challenges really about? When both Scotland and Ireland supported Charles II, because they did not want the imposition of Cromwell’s English parliament to have sovereignty over their nations. The Anglican Orange Lodge was set up to sow division against the United Irishmen in 1797 - there was also a Scottish Rebellion in 1797, the year Burns died. Charles II had no successors.There were primarily religious wars.

James VI and I -  Elizabeth of England has no successors, in 1603 James VI became James I of England, Ireland and Scotland. After his death Charles I ruled less successfully.  His older brother Henry died and his older sister Elisabeth Stuart became the Queen of Bohemia – the Winter Queen. She held court over in Prague and in the Hague Europe.