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Scotland in music

Reviews by Edward Scott Pearlman

If you long to visit Scotland, or Caledonia, as the Romans called it, the words of this song may run through your mind:

"Let me tell you that I love you and I think about you all the time

Caledonia, you're calling me, and now I'm going home."

For more than 30 years, Dougie MacLean has been singing "Caledonia," his most famous song, to audiences in Scotland and throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Fans travel miles, even cross continents, to hear Dougie perform, whether with his backup band or solo with just a guitar.

When not touring, MacLean lives in Perthshire, where he and his wife, Jennifer, have fostered Scottish traditional music by organizing Hogmanay parties, village hall ceilidhs, a day-long summer festival, an art and music gallery featuring his music and Jennifer's paintings...and for five years owned The Taybank in Dunkeld, which in 2000 won the Music Pub of the Year award. Their son and daughter share in these enterprises, including the music, songwriting and studio work.

The latest home area project for the MacLeans is a ten-day, multifaceted event called the Perthshire Amber Festival. The 7th annual festival takes place this fall from October 28 to November 6. As hands-on host, Dougie MacLean performs at many of the festival concerts along with musicians such as Phil Cunningham, Archie Fisher, Kris Drever, Jenna Reid, Breabach and Buddy MacDonald, who are among this fall's featured artists. Performances take place at some 15 different venues within a 20-mile radius of Dunkeld, including Dunkeld Cathedral, Castle Menzies, Perth Concert Hall, Blair Castle and Caledonia Hall at the Edradour Distillery.

In addition, there are open mikes, workshops, music sessions, a cabaret, a musical bus trip, nature walks and fundraising activities such as The Big Knit and Amber Harvest, to help the homeless, and a food bank. Last year, the festival drew more than 6,000 people from about 20 countries.

The full text of this column is available in the Autumn 2011 issue of Scottish Life.

Click here to preview our feature article on Andy Scott's Monumental Art by Shan Ross.

Click here to preview our feature article on Edinburgh's "New" National Museum by Keith Aitken.

Click here to preview our column on Scotch Whisky by John Lamond.

Click here to preview our reviews of Scottish Books.