It’s Burns’ Night tonight, and for the past couple of years we have recorded two special Burnscasts to celebrate the life, poetry and music of the Bard.
This year time and circumstance has conspired against us, but those old podcasts are worth a listen as they feature experts on Burns, including Cameron Goodhall talking about Burns Suppers and performance, Fergus Muirhead on the music and Ronnie Young, who puts Burns’ life and work into context by looking at those who inspired him, and his contemporaries. There is also some fantastic singing from Jennie Scammell.
We hope you have a great night, and raise a glass to a man whose poetry and songs continue to enthral.
To help you do that, here are a few suggestions which may be of assistance. The best resource for listening to and learning about Burns must be the BBC’s fantastic online resource, which has some of the great and the good reading his work, while some good friends of mine have put the poems and songs into context.
One of Scotland’s great voices of recent times was Michael Marra, who wrote songs which displayed a wit, wisdom and an ear for melody which Burns would have appreciated. Here he is singing Burns’ Green Grow The Rashes ‘O:
If you’re having a quiet night in, but still want a full Burns’ Night experience, then you could do worse than watch this terrific documentary on Burns which is fronted by fellow Ayrshire man, Andrew O’Hagan. It’s got to be better than whatever is on telly:
I hope your night is full of good food, drink, warm company and poetry, but then I wish that for you every night. And my favourite Burns’ quote? It’s probably the last verse from A Man’s A Man For A’ That:
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.
- A Man’s A Man For A’ That (1795)