Ballymena musicians on ‘Burns an’ Mair’ programme

Grahame Harris from Templepatrick played a pibroch (a form of music for the Scottish pipes) on Highland pipes in a Burns Night Concert which is to be show on BBC2 as he accompanied Ballyclare High School Choir as they sang a cantaireachd (a musical tradition which employs chanting).
Grahame Harris from Templepatrick played a pibroch (a form of music for the Scottish pipes) on Highland pipes in a Burns Night Concert which is to be show on BBC2 as he accompanied Ballyclare High School Choir as they sang a cantaireachd (a musical tradition which employs chanting).

Two Ballymena Fiddle Players will be among a host of local musicians performing on ‘Burns an’ Mair’ which will be televised on BBC-Two NI at 9pm on Thursday, January 25, the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.

BBC Northern Ireland continues its week of programmes and content celebrating the life and work of Robert Burns with this one-hour music special recorded at Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church in Belfast and presented by Sylvia Burnside and Mark Wilson.

This programme, made by Barking Films, celebrates Burns but not in the traditional sense with an ‘Address to a Haggis’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’, delving instead more deeply into the musical world of Robert Burns, and the writers and performers his work inspired.

Ballymena fiddle players Diane McCullough and Emma Nevin who play ‘Lament for the death of his second wife’ written by Neil Gow, a contemporary of Robert Burns.

The pair have grown up together, going to primary and secondary school, college and have shared a house, and were brought up playing music in halls around Ballymena. Rasharkin-born singer/songwriter Andy Calderwood who performs a special arrangement of ‘A Mans A Man for A’ That’, found a real affinity between Burns’ language and the Ulster-Scots he grew up with in County Antrim.

Robert Burns was an admirer of the most famous Scottish fiddle player of the 18th century, Niel Gow. The internationally acclaimed duo of Scottish Fiddle player Alasdair Fraser and American cello virtuoso Natalie Haas deliver a set inspired by Gow’s legacy that combines tradition and innovation. Lisburn singer, Ruth Trimble, who has toured with Beth Neilson Chapman, performs the beautiful Wild Mountainside written by Scottish songwriter John Douglas. Ballyclare High School Choir sing a cantaireachd along with Grahame Harris playing a pibroch on Highland pipes. Other local acts include piper Scott Wallace.