Scotland, Saint Andrew’s Day, and music

Across Scotland and in communities around the world where Scotland’s sons and daughters have made their homes, 30 November, Saint Andrew’s Day, is celebrated as the national day of Scotland and Scots wherever they are through the world.

How did the fisherman from Galilee, one of the first disciples of Christ, a man who lived out his ministry in what is now Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria, become the patron saint of this far northern land? There are a number of tales about that, most of them probably just that, tales made of bits and piece borrowed from other stories. What is true is that at least since the ninth century, Saint Andrew has been looked to by Scots as a model of courage, independence, and inventiveness, and a proud symbol of the country north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Music is a vibrant part of the life of Scotland. Join in the festivities of Saint Andrew’s Day by taking a listen to the sounds of these artists:

Alistair Ogilvy is a a proud speaker and singer of Scots, which is its own language. If you are wondering what it sounds like, think Robert Burns. Ogilvy stands up for the fluent storytelling and vivid imagery in Scots song in his album Leaves Sae Green.

Fiona J. Mackenzie employs Scots, Scottish Gaelic, English and the languages of the far northern isles of Scotland as she explores Scotland’s geography through songs of its many islands on her album called Archipelago. if you would like to learn Scottish Gaelic in bite sized pieces, Mackenzie will teach it to you, along with phonetic pronunciation, on twitter. Find her there as @gaelicsinger

Speaking of Scottish Gaelic, there’s a Gaelic singer whose voice you’ll know, even if you don’t know her name or her language: You’ll have heard the music of Julie Fowlis in the film Brave. Take a listen to her album Julie Fowlis: Live at Perthsire Amber to explore her work more fully.

Outside of Scotland, one of the strongest Scottish communities is found in Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia in Atlantic Canada. Fiddler Wendy MacIsaac and singer Mary Jane Lamond bring the clear sound of Scotland across the ocean to life in their album Seinn.

How about bagpipes? If you’re thinking no, not pipes! give a listen to what Fred Morrison and friends do to bring creative spin while respecting the tradition of this ancient instrument on Outlands.

You may also wish to see

ideas for celebrating Saint Andrew’s Day including a suggested menu of cullen skink (that’s a fish soup), roast lamb, and spiced fruit

If you were among those who watched the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, you may have learned that they met while students at the University of Saint Andrews, one of the oldest and most academically rigorous universities in the English speaking world

More ideas for music for St Andrew’s Day: music of Scotland

Photograph shows a member of the Scottish Power Pipe Band in Glasgow. it is by Kerry Dexter.

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