Please sign in to post.

songs of Scotland

Hello travel community,
We are going to Scotland next summer and one of the things I like to do to prepare and get in the spirit of a trip is watch movies, read books and listen to songs of the country or about the country. I know RS recommends a few movies, books etc.
What about songs?
And feel free to list movies and books too if you have favorites. GO!

Posted by
186 posts

For music

For books anything by the late Nigel Tranter who was known as Scotland's Storyteller.

For films "Whisky Galore" the 2017 version with Gregor Fisher and Eddie Izzard (though the original film is excellent too) and "What We Did On Our Holiday" with Billy Connolly and David Tennant.

Posted by
2540 posts
Dogie Mclean a wonderful song smith this is one of his more famous songs.
Eddie reader doing Burns but more famous as the lead singer of Fairground attraction.
the late great Michael Marra ,wrote aome amazing songs about scotland and scottich life. This one os about Genral Grant visiting Dundee but loads of great songs,
Chain Up the swings.
Frida Kahlo's Visit to the Taybridge Bar.
Posted Sober
Neil Gow's apprentice,a song about Dougie Maclean (they were in the same band together called tappit Hen)
Mother Glasgow
and many others just have look.
for something weird and wonderful look for Ivor Culter another great who is no longer with us.Life in a Scotch Living room, truely unique.
I have been lucky enough to see all these artists live and I have even enjoyed a few beers in the company of Michael Marra about 30 years ago.

Posted by
964 posts

For a rather 'rockier' approach you might try some of Runrig's output, a lot of it very Scottish specific. To the point that a fair bit is sung in Gaelic, but you'll get the picture and translations are available. After a long career they are retiring after one last big gig next year I believe, but the music will endure.

My current favourite Scottish listen is 'Grind' by The Treacherous Orchestra, no songs as such, but fine stuff to listen to while winding through the Highlands. As is anything by the Peatbog Faeries, again instrumental but obviously Scottish. Start with 'Croftwork' or 'Live' as introductions.

There is of course, a huge wealth of Scottish Folk Music, which couldn't be covered in a single posting but the suggestions above will all be good!

I keep meaning to re-read J L Stevenson's 'Kidnapped' which is in reality an adventure tour of the Highlands set against more familiar post Jacobite rebellion themes! And predates 'Highlander' and 'Outlander' stuff!

Have a great trip!


Posted by
28113 posts

Take The Floor is a fabulous weekly BBC Scotland radio show.

Available on the iPlayer, don't know how people outside the British Isles can get it.

Posted by
1254 posts

Look for Radio Garden web site. You may have to download it first. A globe of the world comes on screen with a static radio signal until you "dial" in your station by pointing to geo-location dots. We have listened to several Scottish stations. Our favorite is Stornoway, a BBC Scotland station. It has some old time music and some live performances.

Posted by
1815 posts

Watch Outlander on Starz. Or read the books by Diana Gabaldon..

Posted by
3486 posts

While not songs , this piece " Four Scottish Dances " by Malcolm Arnold , perfectly captures the beauty of Scotland in multiple ways - . Also , This brilliant movie from 1960 , " Tunes of Glory " starring Alec Guinness and John Mills is well worth seeking out . Here are the opening credits -

Posted by
2280 posts

Watch the movie, Local Hero. It’s fictional but will give you a feel for the coast of Scotland. It’s quirky and charming, my favorite movie of all time.

Posted by
3486 posts

Another vote for " Local Hero " , one of my favorites ! AND - I almost forgot - From 2010 , Sylvain Chomet's animated film , " The Illusionist " . The story is touching , and the hand drawn animation will make you feel like you are walking on the streets of Edinburgh

Posted by
205 posts

For "slightly" less heather and kilts nonsense you might try the film adaptations of Irvine Welsh novels - the two Trainspotting films and Filth. Almost any of the Iain Banks novels particularly Stonemouth, Espedair Street, The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory. And of course all things Rebus.

Posted by
127 posts

If you're looking for folk songs with fun Scottish lyrics I recommend Emily Smith. She's my most listened to artist on Spotify and right now I'm enjoying her Christmas albums as well. I also like Robin Stapleton, but her music is a little harder to find.

If you're more in the mood for instrumental music, my favorite artist is Abby Newton. I also search for soundtracks to movies/TV set in Scotland like Braveheart or Outlander or even Disney's Brave. Maybe not as authentic, but recognizable and fun. Scotland is one of my favorite destinations, so I have an enormous playlist. Also, one of my favorite souvenirs when I travel is to get a cheap and cheesy CD of local folk music. It's usually terrible quality, but for some reason they always make me smile and remind me of my trip whenever I listen.

Posted by
2540 posts
you might like this one, Bill Hill,been around since I was a boy and he is a Tourist Guide in Edinburgh as well as doing some folk singing.There are lyrics with this song to give you an idea of what he his singing about, you might even recognise the original song.

Posted by
1888 posts

Also, you can look on youtube for anything by The Corries.

(Not The Corrs, they are Irish. CORRIES.)
They were a wonderful Scots duo who sang beautiful versions of old Scottish tunes and some of their own too.
The videos are from the 60's and 70's but the music is fabulous to this day.
I saw them live a couple of times when I was a student in Scotland; they made the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Unclegus: did you ever see them live?
I believe one of them is still alive.

Posted by
2540 posts

saw them many times, always a great show. Ronnie Browne used to live about 200 yards from me and is still alive , saw him a couple of months ago in Edinburgh, must be in his 80's now.

Posted by
1888 posts

So glad to hear that Ronnie Browne is still going strong; is he still playing music?
Merry Christmas to you!

Posted by
2216 posts

Thank you everyone. I am on vacation right now, but can't wait to start checking out some of these suggestions when I return home!

Posted by
106 posts

A really good movie with David Tennant and Sir Billy Connolly is : What we did on our Holiday. It is a hoot and has a lovely celtic soundtrack. Outlander is epic, start with Season 1.

Posted by
2023 posts

This movie goes back quite a few years--Chariots Of Fire--loved that one.