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Songs for St Andrew's day



Written by George Weir (words) and Roy Williamson (music), sung by The Corries

Written by Peebles baker George Weir, with Roy Williamson of The Corries, this song celebrates a number of iconic images from throughout Scottish history, in particular St Andrew, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. 


Scots Wha Hae

Written by Robert Burns, sung by Dick Gaughan

Robert Burns' weel-kent song set to the tune of "Hey Tutti Tatti", an ancient melody said to have been sung as far back as on the field at Bannockburn. Originally called "Robert Bruce's March to Bannockburn", it is thought that Burns' composition was as much in reference to the Radical movement of his own time as his interest in the story of the Wars of Independence. 

Such a Parcel o Rogues in a Nation

Written by Robert Burns, sung by Fiona Forbes.

Burns' scathing indictment of the Scottish lords who signed the Treaty of Union in 1707, sung by Fiona Forbes at the Scotland's Songs website.



Scotland Yet 

Written by Davy Steele, sung by Karine Polwart

The late Davy Steele of Prestonpans was part of the "Scotland United" movement in the run-up to the Devolution Referendum in 1997, around which time he wrote this song, reflecting Scotland's multi-faceted identity culturally and linguistically, and perhaps a more modern view on the political choices facing the Scottish people. Hear Karine Polwart sing the song on MySpace.


Download Davy Steele's own version on iTunes.


Davy's song also builds on an older tradition of songs celebrating Scotland - as in this similarly-named broadside from the 19th century, in the National Library of Scotland broadsides collection



The Wild Geese/Norland Wind
Written by Violet Jacob (words) and Jim Reid (music)

Violet Jacob's 1915 poem was originally written from the point of view of an Angus exile down south, but has taken on a wider meaning for Scots far from home. The song is a conversation between the exile and the north wind, set to music by the late Jim Reid. Jim Malcolm gives the song a great treatment here.



A Man's a Man for A That
Written by Robert Burns

Burns' "ode to humanity" sung by the late Lionel McClelland. Burns' song became well-known across the world for its themes of radicalism, egalitarianism and justice - read more about the song's travels at the SLC Scots Song section.



The Freedom Come All Ye
Written by Hamish Henderson (words), tune 'The Bloody Fields of Flanders' by Pipe Major John McLellan

Hamish Henderson's song was written in 1960 for the CND Glasgow Peace Marchers, reflecting a post-war view of the world in which Scotland no longer plays a militaristic role in countries elsewhere in the world. It has often been mooted as a possible alternative national anthem for Scotland, with its strongly internationalist outlook. Here it is sung by Alison McMorland and Geordie McIntyre, Margaret Bennett and Steve Byrne at Edinburgh's Central Library in 2011 as part of a tribute to Hamish during the Let's Get Lyrical Festival for the UNESCO City of Literature. 



Written by Michael Marra, sung by Rod Paterson



Reflecting the gentler side of the Scottish character, the late Michael Marra's song Hermless portrays the life of many an unsung Scot quietly living their lives in Cooncil hooses in toons across the land. From the RareTunes website



A further selection of Scots Songs is available at the Scotland Sings website, also prepared by Steve Byrne. Scotland Sings is a nationwide celebration of Scotland's song traditions, taking place for the first  time in 2012, to get the country singing around St Andrew's Day.