Archive: December, 2013

Peter Grant of Strathspey: Theology in Song

All lovers of Gaelic song will be familiar with Calum Kennedy’s heart-rendering ‘Oran mu Leanabh Og’ (‘Song of a Young Child’), but few, I suspect, will be aware of its source.  It was composed by the most prolific of our Gaelic hymn-writers, Peter Grant, and portrays an infant reporting back from heaven to assure his parents that if they knew the bliss he now enjoyed, far from grieving for him, they would be longing to join him.

Grant’s poetry was quintessentially lyrical and in the not too distant past his songs were being sung all over the Highlands.  The first collection appeared around 1809 (when Grant was only 26), the last in 1926: 21 editions in all.  Now his name is all but forgotten, yet not only are these songs treasures in themselves (and quite enough to provide a whole programme for BBC Alba), but his life and work provide a fascinating window into the world of the post-Culloden Highlands.

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Scotland's Future: Independence from Mr Salmond

The danger with the independence referendum is that few seem to have any idea of the scale of what’s envisaged.  It’s not about what used to be called Home Rule.  Nor is it a mere Devolution Upgrade.  It’s about making England a foreign country.  It’s about making Scotland independent in the same sense as Australia is independent: part of the Commonwealth, with occasional visits by HM the Queen as titular Head of State.

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