LEADING figures in the music industry have joined forces to promote Scotland’s cultural identity and to honour author and artist Alasdair Gray.

The Songs For Scotland 2 album campaign is launched today in an effort to create a major cultural event.

The project follows on from Bella Caledonia’s 2014 pro-independence album of Scottish songs, which featured The Proclaimers, Shooglenifty, Capercaillie and Dick Gaughan and which culminated in a sell-out musical performance at the Oran Mor in Glasgow.

With the Brexit vote putting Scottish independence back on the political agenda, producer Kevin Brown has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to fund Songs For Scotland 2.

After the core costs of the album have been met, 25 per cent of funds raised will go towards creating an Alasdair Gray Scholarship Trust to support young musicians.

There are also plans to stage a musical event at Oran Mor beneath Gray’s own ceiling murals.

Project sponsors include The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence daily newspaper, and Gray himself, who has provided both the artwork for the album cover of Native Musicians: Songs for Scotland 2 and contributed a group of signed, limited-edition, silkscreen prints as perks, including one which asks Is Scotland a Possible Nation?


WITH Scotland voting to remain in the European Union on July 23, the Songs For Scotland 2 album is intended to have a decidedly outward-looking, international flavour.

Languages will include Scots, English and Gaelic, and there will also be a track in the Senegalese Wolof language.

The album will also feature a rich diversity of musical styles, ranging from folk/trad, hip hop and pop to classical.

Contributors include Allan MacDonald and Neil Johnstone with Griogair Labruidh, Matt Seattle with Robert McFall and members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Woodenbox, Stanley Odd and Loki, Emily Smith, Karen Matheson, Shona Donaldson, Dick Gaughan, Kathleen MacInnes, Eddie Reid and Samba Sene.

The album will also include a Reggae version of the Robert Burns song Jacobites by Name, retitled Warmongerers by Name by Brina and Kieran Murray.

Brina is a world roots reggae singer from Jamaica, now living in Scotland while Kieran is a Scottish musician and producer.

They recently went to Kingston, Jamaica, and recorded an album with some greats of Jamaican music. Called Jamaica Sings Robert Burns, it is due to be released later this year.


After the core costs of the album have been met, one quarter of the funds raised will go towards creating an Alasdair Gray Scholarship Trust to be administered by the folk/trad umbrella organisation Hands Up For Trad.

“Hands Up for Trad are delighted to be part of this project that supports young Scottish musicians,” said its creative director Simon Thoumire.

“We will apply any funds obtained towards helping young musicians with projects that enhance their careers.”

Gray, right, now 81 years old, is an internationally acclaimed writer and artist, a polymath of extraordinary scope and one of Europe’s foremost cultural figures.

As well as creating the murals for Oran Mor, he penned Lanark, one of the most influential novels of the 20th century.

He has been described by Anthony Burgess as “the best Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott” and by the New York Times as “Glasgow’s presiding genius”.

Gray said he was delighted to be supporting the project.

“Independent thought is impossible unless people freely employ their imaginations,” he said.

“Imagination is therefore essential both to the proper functioning of democracies and to acts of artistic creation. Music and art, by helping us to transcend the mundane, can also help us to imagine and to build a better world.”


THE campaign organisers believe that with another independence referendum in the offing, Scotland’s distinctive culture should be a driving force in the quest for a free, independent and equitable country.

“In darker days our pipers led British troops into the slaughter of imperial wars,” said Brown.

“Today, Scotland’s vibrant musical culture can help each and all of us to imagine and to build a better, fairer, more equitable, peaceable, free and independent nation.”

If the crowdfunding campaign significantly exceeds its target, the producers are planning to use the extra funding to invite backers who have contributed more than £40 to a free musical event at Oran Mor featuring artists from the album. They will also receive a free souvenir item from the campaign.

The target of the campaign, which launches today on Indiegogo, is £8,500. The producers expect that a broad range of Scots including music fans, independence supporters, Remain voters and the global Scottish diaspora will be inspired to support it.

“Culture will always be at the forefront in terms of creating positive political change – of moving humanity forward in a better direction,” said Brown.

“For me personally, this is about living Alasdair’s dictum, ‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation’.”

The National is a project sponsor of Songs For Scotland. Starting next Monday, we will publish a weekly piece on each of the artists who are taking part

For more information visit the Songs For Scotland 2 website at www.songsforscotland2.eu, or visit the campaign's crowdfunding page on Indiegogo at https://igg.me/at/s4s2