A SCOTTISH Parliament committee was treated to a live performance of two Scottish folk songs during a meeting on Thursday.

The Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee heard from a wide variety of contributors on the impact culture can have on communities.

One such contributor was Steve Byrne, the director of Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.

He asked the committee’s convener if there were any rules against singing before giving a rendition of a traditional song he had written himself in Scots.

He explained: “Now that sounds like an old song but it’s a brand new song that was written a couple of weeks ago by me.

“And it sounds like an old song because it’s full of cultural memory and full of place. There’s about seven markers there that would be appealing and make meaning for people from that particular area of Falkirk.

“I suppose in terms of unmet cultural need it’s about recognising that localism, that local distinctiveness which ultimately we think gives people a kind of cultural confidence.

“It’s not about nativism. It’s about recognising what we have on our doorsteps and the strength and local diversity that that distinctiveness, that differences, gears us up, disarms us in a way that allows us to engage with cultures from elsewhere which we’re increasingly in communities all across Scotland incorporating other traditions into our own and that’s something that we’ve done for generations.”

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Byrne was followed by Arthur Cormack, the chief executive of Gaelic arts organisation Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

Although seemingly reluctant to sing initially, saying he hadn’t done his “warmups” he said: “Och, I’m going to do it because I’m not going to let Steve have the upper hand.

“This is a song which talks about the Isle of Skye where I come from. Written by Màiri Mhòr nan Òran and Mary MacPherson.”