FolkWorld Issue 35 02/2008; Live Report by Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Burns Supper and the Water of Life
Robin Laing @ Mr. Pickwick Pub, 28 January 2008

Robin Laing came back to the Mr. Pickwick Pub in Berne, Switzerland, to celebrate Robert Burns’ birthday. His usual January tour is organized around the 25th January. Robert Burns was a farmer, exciseman, poet and Scotland’s most famous bard, and Burns Night is effectively a second national day for Scotland.

Mark Chesterfield, Robin’s friend and tour agent for Switzerland, started at 7pm with his welcome speech and the whisky tasting.
Robin Laing

Robin Laing @ FolkWorld:
FW#1, FW#5, FW#13, FW#24,
FW#26, FW#31, FW#33, FW#33
Then, in lack of a piper, the Haggis was brought in to the music from a CD and Robin presented the Selkirk Grace, a prayer before the meal, and Burns’ famous “Address to a Haggis”.

Afterwards the furry little beast, which is in truth the stomach of a lamb filled with chopped heart, lung and liver from the lamb, was served with mashed potatoes and yellow carrots. It was a delicious meal that goes very well with a fine dram of single malt; some drops should be poured on the meat.


During the meal Robin started to sing some of his Whisky songs. In 2007 he released “One for the Road”, his third album with well chosen songs about the Scottish national drink. He’s a brilliant entertainer, who manages to capture the audience with his jokes and songs even in a crowded pub, though this Monday evening he sometimes had to get loud.

He sang several of the songs from the new CD as well as older songs, original songs, traditionals and cover versions.
Robin Laing - The Water of Life

Icon Sound
De'il's Awa' Wi' th' Exciseman
Lochanside / Nancy's Whisky
Shining Clear / Tak' a Dram
“World of Whisky” has been written for a whisky magazine and celebrates the whiskies of the world. The “Speyside Whisky Song” in the opposite is a (nearly) complete list of Speyside distilleries.

Bruichladdich distillery decided to make the legendary “Uisquebaugh Baul” (perilous whisky), a four times distilled whisky mentioned first by Martin Martin in 1693, and Robin was invited to witness the birth of this whisky which came of the stills at 89% alcohol by volume; this song is his contribution.

But Robin also sang some romantic songs, he always stresses that Scottish men are romantic, as they don’t go to boys schools until they’re 18 years old as the English do. And certainly the audience demanded some of the dirty songs which are also very popular in Scotland.

The evening was a laugh and the audience was delighted about the delicous meal as well as the fine whiskies. But for me and most of the others the highlight was Robin’s singing and playing. He is a wonderful singer and guitar player and when he closed the evening with the traditional “Auld La(i)ng Syne” everybody held their hands and sang along.

Robin is coming to Germany in April, you should not miss it, details will soon be announced at his website. 2009 will see the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth. Thus I’m looking forward to a certainly remarkable Burns celebration next year.

Photo Credits: (1) Robin Laing, (2) Haggis (by Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup); (3) Robin Laing's 'The Water of Life' (by Greentrax).

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 02/2008

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