Angela Constance MSP for Almond Valley was proud to sponsor a Lecture on the centenary of the birth of Hamish Henderson, one of the outstanding figures of the 20th century at the Scottish Parliament earlier this month.
The Lecture was delivered by one of Hamish Henderson’s old friend and colleague - Fred Freeman, a Professor of Scots Language & Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Fred has lived in Mid Calder for the past 21 years and has had the honour of delivering several lectures across the UK during 2019. Fred was recognised by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies in 2014 with a lifetime Hon Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to Scottish literary studies and, in 2015, he delivered a lecture on Burns to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Hamish Henderson was a socialist, and one of the most brilliant Scots of his age. The great American folk musician Pete Seeger once said Hamish loved Scotland as much as he loved life itself. Hamish’s work with the school of Scottish studies, recording and popularising the living tradition of Scotland, is unsurpassed. The singers and songs that Hamish discovered inspired a generation of artists, including the young Bob Dylan.
Like Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg in previous centuries, Hamish collected, preserved and promoted the lives and concerns of otherwise invisible people in bothies, mills, fields and factories. He also added wonderful songs of his own, the most famous of all being “Freedom Come All Ye”, sung at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in 2014, by South African Soprano - Pumeza.
Commenting after the event the local MSP said “I was very honoured, and privileged, to be able to sponsor this Lecture by my constituent Professor Fred Freeman, who is clearly very passionate and emotional about his friendship with Hamish Henderson. We enjoyed a wonderful evening full of poetry, stories and song, to honour an international figure. It is important that we remember and celebrate Hamish Henderson on the centenary of his birth, therefore a number of events have been arranged which are helping to raise the profile of this exceptional man, including an earlier Members Debate and reception held in the Parliament”
Professor Freeman added “I was delighted to be able to reflect upon my friend Hamish Henderson’s achievement, alongside that of Robert Burns, in the most appropriate place in Scotland – our Scottish Parliament. Given the subject and the setting, this was an evening of monumental significance. “
Photo attached – Professor Freeman and his wife Winnie Freeman being welcomed to the Scottish Parliament by Angela Constance MSP
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