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A National Anthem for Scotland

Edinburgh musician Bob Murray discusses and showcases eight songs that could potentially take on the mantle of Scottish National Anthem in a feast of folk on Saturday 28 May.

Bob MurrayOver the years, there have been many campaigns and opinion polls relating to possible Scottish National Anthems. None have ever reached a firm conclusion.

Murray will try to move the debate in a new direction by exploring the aspects of what makes and defines a good anthem, then examine the pros and cons of each song.

Should we use something well-known and “traditional”, or a modern composition?  Is it time to write something new?  Although opinions are divided, would the country line up in support of the chosen song?

One example of a potential anthem is Scotland the Brave. It’s a very well-known and popular tune that is brisk and uplifting, and well-recognised worldwide as Scottish. But does anybody really know more than a few lines at best? And are the words potentially bordering on “shortbread tinnish” cliché rather than setting out an image of a modern nation?

Bob Murray states:

I’m concerned that someone will suddenly declare that we have to decide, and that whoever makes the choice – whether that is politicians, a committee, or the public at large – will decide without all the facts and information they need that help to create a winning anthem, such as the background of the song, if the lyrics are strong and easy to understand, and what’s popular in the current cultural climate and what’s not.

The song also has to work in different circumstances and have singability for the masses. I’ve spoken to many people on the subject over the years, and it seems that the more informed people are, the wider the spread of preference. If you were to go out into the street and simply ask a random number of people what they think should be our anthem, you’ll get a strong bias towards two or three titles – but then many of these people won’t even know the others, so how can you vote for something you’ve never heard of?

This talk and song show should set people thinking. I’ll not be telling folk what they should like, but offering some tools to help them decide better.

As for the rest of the songs that will be offered… you’ll just have to come along and find out!

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