As seems to be becoming a theme in this Choral March series of posts, this is not the version of “Scots Wha Hae” I would like to feature. In 2001 I went to a concert in Edinburgh given by the Kevock Choir and a brass band whose name escapes me. I bought a CD, Kevock Vale, which began with a stirring rendition of Scots Wha Hae – one which would have motivated even the most inveterate Sassenach-sympathising-Scot to roar into battle behind Wallace or Bruce or whoever. This CD has fallen victim to various house moves.
Alas I can’t find this version online (well, either on Spotify or YouTube). A lot of the choral settings of Scots Wha Hae I have found online are rather slow and stately. This one by the Glasgow Phoenix Choir is the closest to what I remember.
Despite my family links to Scotland I often find Scots hard to read – in choral form Burns’ words come alive:
Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;Welcome to your gory bed,Or to victory!Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;See the front o’ battle lour;See approach proud Edward’s power—Chains and slavery!Wha will be a traitor knave?Wha can fill a coward’s grave!Wha sae base as be a slave?Let him turn and flee!Wha for Scotland’s king and lawFreedom’s sword will strongly draw,Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,Let him follow me!By oppression’s woes and pains!By your sons in servile chains!We will drain our dearest veins,But they shall be free!Lay the proud usurpers low!Tyrants fall in every foe!Liberty’s in every blow!—Let us do or die!