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Scottish swag

An evening in Islamabad saw a unique performance by a Scottish band, as well as a celebration of poet Robert Burns

Scottish swag

Reely Jiggered, a young Scottish folk-music band of vocalists who performed in Islamabad recently, showed interest in fusion projects in Pakistan.

They are an award winning Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) band inspired by Celtic Folk and world music who have toured international music festivals around the world. This was their first visit to Pakistan. The band, which enthralled the Pakistani audience with their performance in the capital city, has also worked on some fusion projects in Glasgow.

The band is drawn to an interesting and unique fusion of funk, rock, pop and jazz, taking folk music to new heights.

Reely Jiggered, featuring Alison McNeill (guitar and vocals), Fiona McNeill (violin and vocals), and Scott McLean (drumming), was on a short visit to Pakistan on a special invitation of the British high Commission to play in an orphanage charity show and to mark Burns Night.

The event also exhibited Scottish and Pakistani culture including readings of Robert Burns’ poems in original Scottish as well as translated into Urdu.

This special night is dedicated to Scotland’s national poet and songwriter Robert Burns and is celebrated at the end of every January (as part of New Year festivity around the poet’s birthday on January 25). This night is celebrated across the world which involves Scottish dancing and eating traditional Scottish food, Haggis.

The poet, also known as Rabbie Burns, is famous for his creative literary works and for writing more than 550 poems and songs till his death in 1796 at the age of 37 after suffering from rheumatic fever. Some of his most well-known works include ‘A Red Red Rose’ and ‘A Man’s a Man for A’ That’.

The poet is also well-known in many other countries. In Japan, while closing shops, shopkeepers play “Auld Lang Syne”, a farewell poem written by Robert Burns. Traditionally, the poem is linked to bid farewell to the old year but it is also extended to funerals, graduations, and at the end of any other significant occasion.

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The event also exhibited Scottish and Pakistani culture including readings of Robert Burns’ poems in original Scottish as well as translated into Urdu. “It was an effort to celebrate both the countries’ culture as we see a large Pakistani origin population in Scotland making a real connection between these two culture,” Richard Crowder of the British High Commissioner, who hosted the Burns Supper celebrations said.

“We have worked a lot with some fusion projects in Glasgow and have been very excited over here looking for some opportunities of fusion with Pakistani music, especially folk,” Fiona McNeill of Reely Jiggered told The News on Sunday. The band, which has performed in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Mexico, is happy that Scottish music is gradually travelling worldwide.

“Music has no boundaries and has a universal language. It brings people together,” Alison said, adding, “We have heard good things about Pakistani music and we are hoping to get further educated on that for fusion partnerships with some traditional Pakistani music.”

Showing excitement about coming to Pakistan, the band expressed the desire to come back to Pakistan again hoping for new avenues. “People here are so friendly and very helpful,” Fiona said. She was attracted to different style of glittery and colorful clothes in Pakistan and said she really liked Pakistani food.

“Pakistan is a beautiful country. I would love to come here again and again. People are so welcoming and dresses they wear are so colorful. Besides, the sunshine we enjoyed here has just made our trip,” Fiona said.

Waqar Gillani

waqar gillani
The author is a staff reporter. He can be reached at vaqargillani@gmail.com

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