Recording ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ at Innerpeffray Library.

Now that I live in Scotland, I’ve inevitably become interested in Scottish traditional music. I’ll never be an expert, but the haunting melodies, and the beautiful Scottish dialect, are a great source of inspiration.

The site of a Roman camp

In 2017, I attended a concert at the chapel adjacent to Innerpeffray Library, near Crieff. This is a magical place that has attracted people since Roman times. In fact, a large field next to the river Earn just a few metres away, is known to have been an important Roman camp – perhaps the last one before they stopped their relentless march North. I like to harbour an image of Roman soldiers looking at the snow-capped mountains and deciding ‘C’mon guys, this is far enough. It’s been years since we had an Italian summer, and these guys put haggis on pizza for crying out loud!’

Manuscripts at Innerpeffray

I recently arranged some Celtic tunes for solo guitar, including the melody to which the Rabbie Burns poem ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ is often sung. The original title ‘Mo run an diugh mar an dé thu’ roughly translates as ‘My Love Today as Heretofore’. The library houses some first editions of the Burns collections – these being some of the rarest books in Scottish historical study. What better, or more inspiring place to record and film a performance?

Burns Manuscript

I’d like to thank Lara and her knowledgeable team of volunteers for their generous welcome. I was also very privileged to have been permitted to handle and browse through some of those early editions. I recorded three pieces – the last one on a bit of a whim! Here’s ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, recorded on September 2nd, 2021.