. . . . . . it's in the mix! . . . . . . it's in the mix! . . . . . . it's in the mix! . . . . . .
Laura’s song of inspiration for One Scotland
Download One Scotland Single
Laura McGhee
Download One Scotland Single
Laura with pupils from St. Paul's primary school in Whiteinch. Picture: Andy Buchanan

by Sheila Hamilton

SHE has shared a stage with US folk legend Pete Seeger. But tonight, Glasgow-based singer/ songwriter/fiddler Laura McGhee joins forces with schoolchildren from Glasgow's East and West Ends to sing at Oran Mor.

In front of a celebrity audience including actor Robbie Coltrane, writer William McIlvanney and playwright Peter McDougall, Laura and P7 pupils from Dalmarnock and St Paul's Primaries will perform Laura's new single, One Scotland, a powerful anti-racism anthem.

Laura took part in workshops with the schools as part of Oran Mor's community outreach programme and recorded the children singing the chorus, which goes: "For this one Scotland, This bonnie, bonnie land, Let's stand together hand in hand, And may the world it see, We can live in harmony, Working together for this one Scotland."

One Scotland is both haunting and rousing and the kind of song you can't get out of your head once it's in it, will be released on Itunes on Monday in time for St Andrew's Day.

Listen To "One Scotalnd" on iTunes Now!


Ultimately, the aim is for all children in Scotland to sing the song as a message of unity and hope.

"I think the song is magnificent," says Oran Mor owner Colin Beattie. "It encapsulates all the positive aspects of this new multi-cultural Scotland."

"It's about working together for this one Scotland and it's about bringing all religions together and all living in peace and harmony," says Laura.

The words of the song say it all and the children, quite a number of them from ethnic backgrounds, took to it right away.

"The children were singing along with the chorus after hearing it just twice," laughs Laura.

The song has already been translated into Polish, Italian, Ugandan, Urdu, Hindi and Hebrew and the P7 pupils have also written poetry and stories and created murals on different cultures, which will be on display tonight at Oran Mor.

"The whole school loves One Scotland and the children have adopted it as the school song," declares Nancy Clunie, head teacher of Dalmarnock Primary in Bridgeton.

"Our new school opened only last week and the children insisted on singing it at the opening.

"Bridgeton has changed. It's a multi-national area now and this has helped unite the pupils."

It has been fantastic to work with Laura," says Marie Warrington, principal of St Paul's, Whiteinch. "She has changed the children's appreciation of what traditional music is."

Laura has previously performed with Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter, Jim Lauderdale, Odetta, and Runrig but is probably best known for her song, Tell It Tae The Lover.

She is better known in the States than she is in her homeland.

She accepts without apparent resentment that there are those in Scotland who don't have much time for her brand of music, which is somewhere between rock and folk.

The Americans love the fact that she has kept her accent, but that doesn't seem to go down well here, she thinks.

The Americans make up for it. She has been back and forth across the Atlantic several times this year and has been working with Dixie Chicks songwriter Jim Lauderdale both here and in the States.

In September, she performed at a ceremony in New York in memory of the 67 British victims of the September 11 attacks.

She also performed in New York this year as part of the Tartan Week celebrations.

"I've had a great response from American radio and American southern radio especially," she says.

However, things in Scotland are improving. She appears as a supporting act with Runrig at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on St Andrew's Day and guests with them on December 8 at the Barrowland.

And she is looking forward to playing at Celtic Connections in January, where last year she took part in the Matt McGinn tribute concert. She recently sang his anti-war song With Fire and With Sword on BBC2's Scotland's Music series.

McGinn is one of her heroes. "His lyrics are quite inspirational in that he is able to say big things in a simple way," she says.

"With Fire and With Sword is as relevant today as the day it was written."

Laura, who is 26 and originally from Monifieth in Angus, studied Scottish traditional music in her teens and studied classical music at Glasgow's RSAMD.

After graduating she decided to develop her writing and take the old traditions and put them into a more contemporary style.

"My priority in life is my career," she grins. "Music every day. Singing, writing, playing."

Her career really took off when she went to Broadway three years ago to work with Pete Seeger.

"It was a great opportunity to work with a legend in the folk scene and that led to other opportunities back here and I released my debut album Green Eyes.

She also has a new album, Careless, being released at the turn of the year.

Children respond well to her and she has other projects with schools in the pipeline, tracing Scottish music through the history of Scotland and getting local communities involved.

A concerto, which she has called The Arbroath Suite, will be premiered in Arbroath in February and is based on the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath.

Her work has been described as "contemporary folk rock with a hook". She likes that.

People like to pigeonhole performers. But Laura sounds like nobody but herself.

She grins ruefully. "It's hard to build a career in Scotland if you're a bit different. I'm too folky for the rockers and too rocky for the folkies."

You can hear Laura and the children sing One Scotland on Fred MacAulay's BBC Radio Scotland show next Friday morning

  • www.lauramcghee.com
  • From The Evening Times

    Publication date 23/11/07


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    "One Scotland"


    Laura McGhee & The Oran Mor Outreach Choir

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    Laura McGhee & Oran Mor Outreach Choir - One Scotland - Single

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