AT first glance it is an unlikely combination, but there is a reason why a great Robert Burns classic has ended up on the same album as Scottish hip hop artists Stanley Odd and Loki.

They are all part of Songs for Scotland 2, the follow-up to a music collection produced in the heady days of the 2014 independence referendum.

The No vote may have won the day then but the new album, which is now nearly halfway towards its crowdfunding target, is designed to keep Scottish culture and identity at the heart of the independence campaign.

As well as producing a downloadable album of songs, it is also hoped that enough money can be raised to fund a scholarship – named after Scots polymath Alasdair Gray – for young musicians.

The first album embraced the incredibly rich flowering of music before the independence vote, and the second one is still upbeat, taking as its theme Gray’s dictum “work as if you live in the early days of a better nation”.

As in the first album, which is continuing to sell well, there is a narrative arc to Native Musicians: Songs For Scotland 2.

The first three tracks all originate in the days before the indyref of September 18, 2014.

Then comes the black despair of September 19, which is represented by Shona Donaldson’s version of The Highland Widow’s Lament, Burns’s great lyric description of the aftermath of Culloden.

Donaldson, one of Scotland’s leading traditional singers, said she was glad such a powerful song had been included on the album.

It is taken from Pur, a CD of Robert Burns songs she recorded with Katie MacKenzie in Scots and Gaelic and which was nominated for Scots Album of the Year.

Born in Huntly to a musical family, Donaldson is bilingual in English and Doric and was steeped in music from an early age. As well as singing she plays the fiddle and started performing as a teenager. She won Singer of the Year in the Trad Music Awards in 2009 and was the first female to be voted Bothy Ballads champion in the prestigious competition.

Very much in favour of independence, the 31-year-old mother of two boys believes her strong Scottish identity has come from her cultural interests.

“I think we are more than capable and are very well placed to be an independent nation,” she said.

“For me, I feel like I am Scottish rather than British and because of that I really want Scotland to be independent.

"My family are all involved in trad music and with that comes learning about Scottish history and the drive for independence.

“I really feel there is no reason why we should not be independent when you step back and look at the big picture.”

Along with Donaldson, Karen Matheson, Mairi Campbell and Dick Gaughan are all lined up to appear on the new album, which it is hoped will follow the first in being made available on Amazon across Europe and North America.

The mastermind behind the project, Kevin Brown, said: “Native Musicians: Songs for Scotland 2 will be an emotionally charged musical portrait of Scotland in 2016; and as well, a tribute to Scotland’s continuing struggle to join the family of small, democratic and well-governed nations of northern Europe.

“Listening to Native Musicians: Songs for Scotland 2 will serve as an ongoing reminder that to ‘work as if you live in the early days of a better nation’ requires first that we act collectively to create that nation; and forging a new nation must begin in a shared act of imagination.”

For more information on Songs for Scotland 2 go to, or visit the crowdfunding page on Indiegogo at

The National is project sponsor for Songs For Scotland 2. Every Monday, we will publish a weekly piece about one of the artists taking part.