It's Burns Night on the Imagine Alba Podcast! In this episode, we explore the Scottish tradition of Burns Night, and we preview Glasgow's Celtic Connections, one of Europe's finest folk, roots and world music festivals.
You can listen to our Burns Night episode here by downloading from iTunes and subscribing:
Scottish folks love tradition, they love poetry and they love a party. All of these come together in the uniquely Scottish custom of Burn’s Night on January 25. If you want to find out more about the man himself, read his works and find out how to hold your own Burns Supper, the website Robert Burns Country is a great resource.
Burns' first song:
Once I lov'd a bonie lass,
Ay, and I love her still;
And whilst that virtue warms my breast,
I'll love my handsome Nell.
As bonie lasses I hae seen,
And mony full as braw;
But, for a modest gracefu' mein,
The like I never saw.
A bonie lass, I will confess,
Is pleasant to the e'e;
But, without some better qualities,
She's no a lass for me.
But Nelly's looks are blythe and sweet,
And what is best of a',
Her reputation is complete,
And fair without a flaw.
She dresses aye sae clean and neat,
Both decent and genteel;
And then there's something in her gait
Gars ony dress look weel.
A gaudy dress and gentle air
May slightly touch the heart;
But it's innocence and modesty
That polishes the dart.
'Tis this in Nelly pleases me,
'Tis this enchants my soul;
For absolutely in my breast
She reigns without control.
Robert Burns sculpture by Sir John Steell (1804–1891), Central Park, New York City
Address to a Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis
Recipe for traditional haggis with whisky gravy
3 x 500g packs haggis
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 x 500g beef stock
3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1. Cook the haggis according to package instructions.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently until dark brown.
3. Increase the heat to high and add the whisky. Leave to bubble vigorously, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes until almost all has evaporated.
4. Add the stock and redcurrant jelly to the pan, bring to the boil, then leave to simmer vigorously for 30 minutes or until at least two-thirds its original volume, and the sauce is thick and glossy. Strain the gravy through a sieve. Serve the haggis at the table with the gravy alongside.
From January 18 to February 4, musicians from across the globe will take part in more than 300 events at venues throughout Glasgow, for Celtic Connections, one of the leading annual festivals of world, folk and roots music.
Chris Stout and Catriona McKay will perform with King Creosote, Scottish Ensemble and special guests
18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, free events, late night sessions and a host of special one-off musical collaborations will once again light up the Scottish winter when Celtic Connections returns for 2018. For more information visit www.celticconnections.com