by Kevin Williamson
The lure and challenge of performing Tam o’ Shanter was far too enticing to ignore. It’s the biggie, the epic masterpiece, all 224 lines of it, that Burns himself loved more than anything else he wrote. On Burns Night I had a chance to tackle it. Because of the sheer length of the poem it was a daunting prospect. In front of 180 people at Edinburgh’s Summerhall, at a sold out Neu! Reekie! Burns Night special, I gave it my best shot.
The footage was filmed and edited by Summerhall TV and features Craig Lithgow (guitar) and David Macfarlane (fiddle) from the band Emelle, accompanying the words. I’d hoped it would be a flawless rendition but it didn’t quite work out that way. Two mistakes ain’t too bad though. (Burnsians will spot a wrong word in the famous opening line. Ouch. There is another one further on.) That apart this is Tam o’ Shanter performed with as much gusto as I could manage on the night. It’s such a great poem you can’t go far wrong. Enjoy.