As Burnsong gets ready to celebrate Scotland's songwriting talent

Karin Goodwin talks to participants in Songhouse, an intense musical version of Big Brother

hen it comes to songtxriting. old} the hra\ e or the stupid \\t)llltl he prepared

to take him on. In just a couple of

decades Rohert Burns \\ role o\ er Bot) songs that co\er the xx hole gamttt ol' human emotion lrom low and lttst to loss and longing. Weight} issues

human rights. religion. the em ironment take their place alongside humour and high iin\. laughter and tears.

Since his death in l79o. Burns‘ songs ha\e resonated do\\ n the centuries. .-\nd the} still otter as much ol‘ an inspiration as e\ er. according to the participants ol' Burnsong. a national project promoting and nurturing .song\\riting in Scotland in the run up to the 250m anni\ersat'_\ ol‘ the Bands birth in 200‘).

.\'o\\ in its third .\ear. Burnsong 2007 l'catures song\\riting \xorkshops l‘or school children and adults. open mic nights. a reading trotn music

dedicated IU

journalist \Vill llodgkinson and an open

competition tor unsigned songuriters across Scotland. kno\\n as The (iathering. But at its healing heart is Songhousc. a kind ol‘ musical \ersion of Big Brother in \xhich eight ot the country‘s tinest song“ riters are locked aua) in a beautiful art deco house on the Solua} l-‘irth \\ ith just one \xeek to create next material uhich

- the} \\ ill then perl'orm at the l-‘esti\al of Song.

l’rex'ious ‘housemates‘ ha\ e included ja/I

singer .\'iki King. King ('reosote. (ieol‘l‘ .\Ian_\n

ol' 'l‘ra\i.s. and limma Pollock. .-\ concert on

Saturda} l December \xill sho\\ case the Best ot‘

3. the Songhouse in 2005 and 2006. featuring

1 Sophie Bancrot't. .\'iki King and Date} Scott

22 THE LIST .13 N.

- Louise Quinn


among others. laktng part Hi this )cxtt's Sitllgltt‘tlu‘ ttl'c‘ Set‘llhlt locket \Ittlg'c‘ I l'k‘. 'leenage l'anclnh's \orntan Blake. lx‘odd_\ \\oomhlc ot ldle\\ ild. tolkansptred musicians .lo \lango and \uala Kenneth. l otnsc Quinn ot \ Hand ('alled Quinn. soul singer ls.\lattc and l-ound‘s /tgg} ('amphell So \\ hat \\III the_\ come up \\|lll .‘

‘l ha\c no ideaf laughs \lttlge I re. \xho eatl_\ this )mr hecame Burnsong's lirst patron. ‘.\nd trankl} I'm pelritied. \Vhen I think ot ll. it's like one ol those dreams \xherc ym‘te \\alkmg doun lllL‘ \ll'L'L‘l llttlsetl.‘

Despite lll\ ltc‘l\t‘\. I It‘ l‘t‘llc'\e\ \\ltttlt‘ heartedl} m the protect. .-\s the man who. along \\lllt Hoh (ieldol. was the hrains hehtnd l t\c S and the co»\\ritcr ol Band .\itl's ‘l)o l'he_\ Is’noxx it‘s ( 'hristntas'. l're ktttm s the potettttal poxs er ol a song. But \xhtle he ma} ha\ e decades ot e\perience under his hell. he is hoping the Songhouse \sill help him recharge his ct'eatt\c haltcries. '\\.c are all creatures ol llttl‘lld l't'e e\plains. ‘I sit locked a\\a_\ tn lll_\ little studio tor most ol the da_\ and I don‘t usuall_\ in\ol\e other people until the songs are \er} close to completion. So I'm hoping this \\lll rattle m_\ cage some“ hat."

Ronnie (iurr. the producer turned music husiness guru \\lltt catnc up \\ith the Songhouse concept. sa) s. “I think most ol the mdiuduals going into the house do so \\ ith great trepidation hut as soon as the} realise the} cart \tork together that tear ladcs.‘ he sa_\s. 'In past wars the otttptil has heen phenomenal.’

Songuriters are gi\en no rules or houndarics. the idea heittg to take the core qualities and elements ol' Burns' songs and create next ones that continue to resonate l'or centuries to come.

"l'he_\ can \trite ahout amthing lrom politics to loothache.‘ sa}s (iurr. '\\‘c'\c had songs ahout all sorts ol~ things l'rom the cash lor honours scandals to a Bretchian railing against death

It is not just the suhiect matter that's \\ ide open

the collahoratne eletnent. \\ltlc'll lll\ttl\e\ hip hop artists making with l'olk musicians or indie guitarists jamming uith sottl singers creates some unique sounds.

l.ast )c‘;tt"s group produced 24 songs one trom each c‘ti—\\l‘lllltg session and perl'ormed them not old} at the end ot the \teek. hut also undertook a lune l'p tour ol' Scotland in .lanuar}. The} \till pla} again as part ol' this _\ear's Burnsong l’esti\al. and man} ol' the songs ha\e been recorded littt‘ the songuriters‘ indi\ idttal alhums.

\ot onl_\ has Burnsong helped dexelop estahlished artists. it has launched new ones. like Kim lidgar. one ol' l7 unsigned “inning songwriters trom the (iathering‘s ts’llll plus submissions in 3005. The l'olloxt ing )c'1ii' she “as gix en a place in the Songhouse. \\ here she more tracks \\ ith limma l’ollock'. Sushil K l)ade. ('hris l)itl‘ord and Katrina I’t)l\\t)t‘tlt. a number ol' \\hich \xill t‘eature on her dehut alhum. Butterflies and Bro/ten (i/mx. due l'or release earl} next _\ear.

'The passion ol Burns is so inspiringf sa)s Louise Quinn. ’I don't knou att_\one u ho can listen It) '.\I_\ lane is Like a Red. Red Rose. or '.-\e l-‘ond Kiss‘ without being mmed. It taps into such a primal place inside ot' _\ou. the sentiment is so uni\ersal and pure. And that is \t hat exery song“ riter is tr} ing to achie\e.'


The Burnsong Festival, Fri 30 Nov-Sun 2 Dec. See for details