Author Archives: Mark Beaumont

Scotland’s Battlefield Band: concerts in Beacon, E. Meredith, NYC & Schenectady NY Associate Events: we thought you might be keen to know about Battlefield Band’s dates in NY state, as part of their eighteen date North East US Fall tour.

Shows are already selling out on the tour, so it’s worth moving quickly if you’re keen to catch the band this time around.

Please do share the dates around and spread the word if you can – very much appreciated!

NY state dates listed below, and you can find full tour dates at: or
‘A Prairie Home Companion’: you can also hear the group on Garrison Keilor’s legendary radio show on 1st Nov 2014.
The band were named as the ‘Vox Pop’ winners in the ‘World/Traditional Song’ category at the Independent Music Awards in August. In addition, their most recent album’Room Enough For all’ was awarded ‘Album of the Year’ at the prestigious 2013 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

31st Oct 2014 BEACON NY Towne Crier 379 Main Street Beacon, NY 8pm
845 855 1300 Buy Tickets Online
02nd Nov 2014 E MEREDITH NY please note early concert time* West Kortright Center, 4pm* 49 West Kortright Church Road, East Meredith, NY
(607) 278-5454 Buy Tickets Online
04th Nov 2014 NEW YORK NY Drom 85 Ave A (b/w 5th & 6th) New York City, 10009 Doors 7pm, Show 8pm
212 777 1157 Buy Tickets Online
09th Nov 2014 SCHENECTADY NY 8th Step @ Proctors 432 State Street Schenectady, NY 12305 7pm
tickets on sale soon call 518 346 6204 Buy Tickets Online
‘These stalwarts of the Scottish traditional music scene pull off their umpteenth album with panache’
The Scotsman
‘…still at the cutting edge of modern Scottish folk music…technically flawless and fabulously entertaining’ Piping Today
‘In contrast to the Scottish independence debate rumbling on next door at the Shetland Museum, there’s a clear audience consensus when it comes to the Battlefield Band’ Shetland News

Letter from America: Family ties and fond memories of Scotland


August 22, 2014 – by Katrina Tweedie

ALAN Bain, Chairman of the American Scottish Foundation, was born in London and lives in New York but his heart will always belong to Scotland.

Alan Bain, President of The Scottish Coalition

IT IS difficult to convey to those that have not found themselves outside of Scotland for an extended period how profound the feeling of distance and loss can be and how profound and deeply rooted the connection and sense of belonging to the Homeland is.

I have felt this personally but never as keenly as when flying into Edinburgh Airport many years ago for my Aunt Betty’s 80th Birthday.

As I looked out of the window of a low flying propellor plane I felt a magnetic impulse arising out of the ground that reached into my seat in the aircraft and tugged at me.

It was the most extraordinary and unworldly sensation.

Yet I grew up in England, the son of Scottish parents.

While growing up I spent a good amount of time with my extended family that was dispersed around the Borders, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife.

I enjoyed them all. They were well travelled, interesting and, importantly, indulgent, especially my Aunt Mae, who developed my life long passion for white pudding, the first choice, black pudding and haggis.

Aunt Elizabeth, meanwhile, made sure that my cousins and I were indoctrinated into the finer points of Scottish History.

Alan Bain with his Paternal Grandfather outside
the Family home in Wormit, Fife

Throughout my life in America Aunt Betty would sending clippings of articles involving Scotland of which she thought I should be aware.

One I remember vividly was an article, complete with her annotations, on how the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC had been started with funding provided by Mr Smithson, a Scot after his offer of funding for a similar venue in Scotland had been turned down.

My father, too, made sure I was acquainted with Scotland’s history. I remember climbing to the top of Ben Nevis, going to places where the Covenanters had met, seeing the Soldiers leap at Killiecrankie and being transfixed by the salmon jump at Pitlochrie while learning of that species migratory journey.

I had the good fortune to meet my late wife Linda, who claimed Macfarlane blood, at a school dance held at St Margaret’s, a girls’ school in the same area as The Gunnery, a New England boys Preparatory School to which I had been sent as exchange student for one year.  The Gunnery had been established in 1850 by Mr Gunn, of Scottish descent.

Linda and I got engaged during a Highland tour with the family.

Little did she know that this would be a precursor to a lengthy involvement with Scotland but she supported my involvement in the Foundation and a family investment in the revival of The Carloway Harris Tweed Mill.

Alan Bain with the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton with Calum Bannerman

After completing National Service in the British Army, three years as an undergraduate at Cambridge and been called to the English Bar as a member of the Inner Temple, I left the UK for a three-year law degree program at Columbia University Law School in New York City.

On arrival in the City I joined  clubs with which I thought I would have a natural affinity including the St Andrews Society, the St George’s Society and the American-Scottish Foundation (ASF).

ASF was the one that I enjoyed the most because of its lively social program, particularly its Annual Scottish Ball and the Wallace Award event. The latter recognizes  Scots and American Scots who have made a significant contribution to American Scottish relations.

Most of all I was  struck by its Mission to serve as a bridge between the USA and Scotland. In 1993 ASF’s Board asked if I would be prepared to assume the presidency of the Foundation.

After more than 20 years running the Foundation I have learnt that the strength of connection and belonging is a universality, even among those separated from Scotland by many generations. I liken it to the impulse that draws the salmon back to spawn in the same place.

The Kelpies

Published on Apr 10, 2014

The Helix is extremely proud to present ‘The Kelpies’, a video by award winning filmmaker Walid Salhab.

Using a unique hyperlapse technique, this video features footage captured within a live construction site. Filming under these conditions is rarely possible; filming under these conditions using the hyperlapse technique is close to impossible.

Find out more about The Kelpies Film and capturing techniques here:

Created from over 60 days of stop-motion filming across 7 months, and tracking construction through to completion, this film uses over 12,000 individual photos, none of which have been edited or manipulated beyond settings inside the camera. Walid captured 120,000 individual images to create this seven minute masterpiece.

Find out more about The Kelpies here:

And about the ASF’s involvement in bringing maquettes of the Kelpies, for display in New York’s Bryant Park, here:

Music: ‘The Kelpies’ by Iglomat, composed for the first part of the film & ‘Tempting Secrets’ by Kevin Macleod

ASF Burns Supper

January 17, 2014

The American Scottish Foundation is holding its 19th annual Burns Supper in NYC tonight. Recently we spoke with Alan Bain, Chairman of the ASF, about this evening’s event.

What is the history of the ASF’s Burns Supper?
Our Burns Supper started in the early 1990’s. I was head of the American-Scottish Foundation, and also on the board of a private club. The club management was noting the absence of social activities in the dead of winter, and I remembered my father, a Scot and a great Burns fan, talking about Burns Suppers. I suggested they might enjoy hosting a Supper in conjunction with the ASF, and so it began. Our first Burns Night Supper was in January 1995.

How has the event evolved over the years?
The foundation is about to host its 19th dinner. There have been a few fundamental changes – for example, many in our audience are not familiar with Robert Burns, and an in-depth lecture for the “Immortal Memory” may be too cerebral. Also, some Scots’ accents were too difficult for American ears! [laughs] But the audience really enjoys Burns’ music and words, so we have had skillful performers act out such works as “Holy Willie’s Prayer” and “Tam O’Shanter.” These are greatly enjoyable. We also often have the “Toast to the Lassies” and “The Lassies’ Response” sung using Burns’ songs, the toasts concluding with duets. Over the years, the music has become less operatic in style and more country/folk. Recently, we have enjoyed Alyth McCormack from the Isle of Lewis, Fiona Kennedy from Aberdeen, and Phaime Gow from Edinburgh. We’re delighted that Maureen McMullen and Mike Ogletree are returning this year to perform the toasts.

Who attends?
What is particularly successful about the program is the partnership between the club and the ASF, resulting in attendees from both groups. We also welcomed women at a time when several Scottish-American societies were men-only. We pick an early date for our dinner as there are several Burns Suppers in New York City, and this enables local Scots to attend more than one. And over the years, we’ve continued to encourage our members to bring new people, introducing them to this great tradition.

What can they expect to experience this year?
The evening is a celebration of Robert Burns in true Scottish style. We will have over 250 guests joining us, many returning each year. The setting we have heard described as “the nearest one can come to a Burns celebration in the Highlands,” a grand paneled dining room in a landmarked building designed by a Scot. Guests are greeted to the strains of the Foundation’s piper and enjoy a whisky tasting reception before being piped into dinner. Once seated and Grace is said, the music begins, performed by Maureen McMullen and Atlantic Seaway, Then it’s time for the ceremonial Haggis procession, where it is carried into the room by the chef, the piper, the whisky bearers – it’s a lot of fun. The “Address to a Haggis” is a key element of the evening, and will be performed by Ken Donnelly. Originally from Glasgow, Ken is a banker, a former board member, a member of the Burns Society, and great orator – his delivery is dramatic, clear and compelling. During dinner, there are short introductory remarks about Robert Burns, his reputation and the celebration of his life occurring around the world. Ambassador Uden will bring greetings from the British Consul General; Alfred Bissett, former president of the St. Andrew ‘s Society of the State of New York, will give the Toast to the Queen; Darren Burgess, Second Secretary, the Scottish Government, will bring greetings from Scotland; and John Booth, Head of Marketing, the Scottish Government, will give the toast to the President. The musical toasts will be followed by the Reels (an energetic set of Scottish dances led by Hannah Read) and the drawing of the Winter Raffle, bringing the formal part of the evening to a close. The bar stays open and the dancing continues until 11:00pm.

Why is it an important gathering for the Scottish community there?
Scots around the world have a deep love for Robert Burns’ music and poetry, and especially his themes of humanity and compassion. When the holidays have passed, and spring is far away, it’s wonderful to be able to get together with family and friends, celebrate his spirit, and feast and sing and dance. The success of the evening comes from a mix of the audience, their enjoyment, the opportunity to celebrate Burns’ memory, and being part of a cultural tradition that is being shared around the world.

What are the future plans for the soiree?
We recently discussed this with several of our members, and they did not want us to change anything. So for now, I expect that the evening will continue in much the same vein – keeping it fresh and with new musical talent. The Reels are a growing element and have added considerable vitality to the evening.

What else does the ASF have on tap for the coming months?
On February 25th, we have a New Member Night at a wonderful spot, Cafe Tallulah. Then on March 19, we’ll be heralding the arrival of the Kelpies to Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan! These are two 15-foot-tall scale models of Andy Scott’s massive 100-ft. horse sculptures. They will be on display for a month, making Bryant Park a center for the celebration of Scotland in New York, and connecting with the formal opening of the Helix Project with the full-size Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland. The rest of February and March will be devoted to preparing for Tartan/Scotland Week (now up to two weeks) in April. For the ASF, 2014 is going to be a landmark year. We are involved in events not only in New York but also in Washington, DC. For example, Ross Gillespie and Tricia Malley, award-winning photographers from Glasgow, will have an exhibit entitled “As Others See Us” at POP International in the Citicorp Building. The exhibit consists of portraits of well-known Scots incorporating lines taken from their favorite piece of Burns’ work. The ASF is a founding member of the National Tartan Day New York Committee, and continues to work organizing the Tartan Day Parade in New York City, coordinating events that week, and assisting the Scottish Government in implementing its plans to bring its tourism and Homecoming messages to an American audience.

Dunmore and ASF



ASF would like to introduce you to one of of our new members, Dunmore Scotland – our new members, to Dunmore Scotland – a vibrant new fashion label producing striking bags and accessories. Inspired by Scotland and made exclusively in the UK, each and every collection is crafted to guarantee outstanding quality of craftmanship.

Dunmore’s vibrant collection feature a range of ladies’ and mens bags, silk scarves and iPad covers. Putting a contemporary twist on heritage fabrics, such as Harris Tweed and Tartans.

The ASF Winter Raffle which will be drawn at our Burns Night Celebration is your chance to win The Kelso bag from Dunmore, a $425 value… Tickets are $20 each – 7 tickets for $100.

For details on the raffle and to purchase tickets download the form on the ASF’s main website. and fax to ASF on 212 605 0338.

Raffle tickets are not available for purchase via Paypal

Brooks Brothers


Brooks Brothers have just introduced a range of Scottish products in their own wonderful signature tartan.
NEWS FOR ASF MEMBERS : A reward for ASF 2014 Members :
ASF Members will now be able to register for the 
Brooks Brothers Membership Card, 
offering special privileges and discounts to ASF members. 
Contact ASF Tel. 212 605 0338  or Email :    

Members Event at Cafe Tallulah


Tuesday February 25, 2014

Cafe Tallulah Cocktail Lounge
240 Columbus Avenue at 71st Street, NYC

6.30 pm – 9.30pm

The American-Scottish Foundation® invites you to join us in the warm atmosphere of the Cafe Tallulah Cocktail Lounge, for wine and light food, with a welcoming Scottish Mist Cocktail upon arrival… Help us toast the New Year and meet Members and Friends

New Members of 2013 and 2014 are invited as our guests!

Tickets are $45 for Members and Guests.

And if you are not yet a Member and Join Now your evening at Cafe Tallulah is free!!

To sign up as a New Member and join as our guest on February 25, click here to sign up online or complete your application using using this form. Existing Members who prefer to book for the evening by mail may also use the form.

Otherwise reserve using our secure Paypal facility, below.

Cafe Tallulah Cocktail Lounge offers roaring fireplace, pool table, velvet sofas and relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere with delicious food…

We’ll be holding a Raffle with exciting prizes! Tickets are $10 each or 12 tickets for $100, and may also be purchased using the form above.

We look forward to seeing you there!

($45 per member or guest – buy one or more)

The Kelpies


Bryant Park, in New York City, will welcome two 15 ft tall scale models of Glasgow-born artist Andy Scott’s ‘The Kelpies’ sculptures from March 19th to April 22nd next year, in the lead up to the internationally acclaimed week of Scottish celebrations in the city.

December 18, 2013 (see the original release on PRWEB)

One of the world’s highest profile public spaces is to showcase a major new arts project which is set to transform Scotland’s tourism map. Bryant Park in New York City, will welcome two 15 ft tall scale models of Glasgow-born artist Andy Scott’s ‘The Kelpies’ sculptures from March 19th to April 22nd next year. 

Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, pictured with Duke and Baron, the Clydesdale horses that were the inspiration for The Kelpies.

The Kelpies – two 100ft steel horses heads which are the largest equine sculptures in the world – are the centre piece of the £43 million Helix land transformational project between Falkirk and Grangemouth in central Scotland and are expected to attract an additional 350,000 visitors a year to Falkirk – a town just 30 minutes’ drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

They will also boost the central Scotland economy by around £1.5 million per annum and provide the area with its second ‘top ten’ UK tourist attraction.

The Helix will transform under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a thriving urban green space. Once complete, it will be an outdoor recreational area open to all, offering easy access to picturesque woodland, a central park with a lagoon, linked walking paths and cycleways.

Thanks to terrific support from The City of New York Parks and Recreation, Bryant Park Corporation, and the American-Scottish Foundation®, the scale models (known as the Maquettes) will be seen by more than 250,000 people a day during the period they are on display next spring.

In addition, a program of lunchtime concerts is being planned around the sculptures on Bryant Park’s Fountain Terrace as part of next year’s celebration of Scottish arts and culture in the heart of Manhattan.

Andy Scott, the Scottish sculptor who created The Kelpies, said:
“The Kelpies pay homage to Scotland’s heavy horses which played a vital role in agriculture and industry in Scotland. They exemplify the best of creativity, engineering and project management and are soon to be the largest public artworks in the country, and the largest equine sculptures in the world – they have been almost eight years in the making.

“It is a huge privilege to be invited to display the Maquettes at Bryant Park, and I am confident they will help to put Scotland, and the Helix project, firmly on the map – not only for resident New Yorkers, but for international visitors to the city.”

The Maquettes have previously been showcased in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, as well as Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh.

Dan Biederman, President of Bryant Park Corporation, said:
“It is a great pleasure to work with the American Scottish Foundation and Scotland to host these sculptures and the ‘Tartan Week’ performances in Bryant Park. The park is one of the busiest public spaces in the world and a perfect location for showcasing arts and culture.”

The Helix development is being driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals and the construction phase for the 100 ft. tall Kelpies was completed in November 2013. Work on the site’s visitor and parking facilities is currently underway and the development will officially open to the public in the summer of 2014.

A spokesman for The Helix team said the unique agreement with the Bryant Park Corporation was a major development for The Kelpies and for Scotland.
He said: “New York City is said by many to be the cultural capital of the world, and so this unique opportunity to position The Kelpies as an International sculptural landmark and visitor destination represents fantastic recognition for the project, raising awareness of the beneficial impact it will have on the local area and on the whole of Scotland.

“It is a huge gesture of approval for The Kelpies to be chosen for this venue and a true accolade for the sculptures and The Helix. I hope that some of the thousands of people who see these sculptures on display in Bryant Park will take time in the future to visit The Helix if they come to Scotland.

“Bryant Park is within a few blocks of Times Square, the Empire State building and the New York City Library, and has a daily footfall in excess of 30,000 people per day and over 200,000 people pass by the park each day.”

The Maquettes have previously been showcased in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, as well as Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh.

The Kelpies’ arrival in Bryant Park is a partnership between the Helix Project, The City of New York Parks and Recreation, Bryant Park Corporation, and the American-Scottish Foundation.

Bryant Park is a 9,603 acre public park, privately managed by the non-profit Bryant Park Corporation, located in the New York borough of Manhattan. It is located between 5th and 6th Avenue and between 40th and 42nd streets in mid-town Manhattan.

For the Helix, Andy Scott and The Kelpies:
Charles Mann, Associate Director, 3×1
Tel. +00 44 141 221 0707 or +00 44 7825 153 599.
E-mail: cmann(at)3×1(dot)com

Nicola Macnaughton, Account Manager, 3×1
Tel. +00 44 141 221 0707 or +00 44 7725 638 246.
E-mail: nmacnaughton(at)3×1(dot)com

For the American-Scottish Foundation:
Camilla Hellman, Executive Director
Tel: 212 605 0338 x 4
Email: asfevents(at)wwbcny(dot)com

Video courtesy of The Helix

Video courtesy of ITN


THE HELIX: The Helix is a £43 million land transformation project being driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals. It will transform under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a thriving urban green space. Once complete, the Helix will be an outdoor recreational area open to all, offering easy access to picturesque woodland, a central park with a lagoon, linked walking paths and cycleways. The Helix will also open up Scotland’s canal network by installing a new full-length canal link and a canal hub featuring the Kelpies

ANDY SCOTT: Andy Scott is a world renowned Scottish figurative sculptor, specialising in public artworks. He graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a BA Hons in Fine Art Sculpture in 1986. In addition to The Kelpies, his portfolio now extends to over 70 projects across the UK and internationally including several monumental landmark sculptures. A selection of his portfolio can be seen at

FALKIRK COUNCIL: Falkirk Council is a unitary authority which provides all local government services for the Falkirk Council area. Covering 112 square miles, it has a population of 151,570 and extends from Banknock in the west of the region to Blackness in the east and from South Alloa in the North as far as Limerigg in the south. The area contains varied countryside, including areas of considerable landscape quality. It also contains the port of Grangemouth and depends for its prosperity on a broad industrial base which includes sizeable industrial areas in Falkirk and Grangemouth

SCOTTISH CANALS: Scottish Canals is the public body responsible for looking after all of Scotland’s canals. It conserves the waterways as part of Scotland’s heritage, ensuring they play a vital role in the way the country operates. The environment and heritage of the canal network is integral to the work of Scottish Canals, and the organisation ensures the canals are managed in such a way to ensure maximum enjoyment for all

THE AMERICAN-SCOTTISH FOUNDATION®: The American-Scottish Foundation is an international not-for- profit organization. Its aim is to establish links and strengthen ties between Scotland and the United States, through the pursuit of contemporary social, cultural, educational, and business activities

BRYANT PARK CORPORATION: Bryant Park Corporation (BPC), a not-for-profit company, was founded in 1980 to renovate, finance and operate Bryant Park, one of the busiest public spaces in the world, without government or philanthropic funding. In addition to providing security and sanitation services, and tending the lawn and seasonal gardens, BPC creates amenities and activities in Bryant Park for over 5 million visitors each year. BPC’s website has more detailed information plus a complete schedule of the upcoming wide range of free events.

THE NEW YORK TARTAN DAY PARADE: The New York Tartan Day Parade will take place on SaturdayApril 5th, stepping off at 44th and Sixth Avenue, two blocks north of Bryant Park and The Kelpies.

In 1998 the U.S. Senate declared April 6 to be National Tartan Day to recognize the contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States. In 1999, two pipe bands and a small but enthusiastic group of Scottish Americans marched from the British Consulate to the UN—our first Parade! Since then, it has grown to include hundreds of pipers, thousands of marchers and many more thousands cheering from the sidelines.

Website for Parade details:

Further historical information of National Tartan Day is available at

Visit Britain Shop – Affiliate Program

Support the ASF by organizing your travel in advance through the comprehensive Visit Britain Shop, online! Click on the image for their main site, or go to:

VISIT BRITAIN Special Offers

VISIT BRITAIN Sightseeing Tours

Rail is GREAT

London and Edinburgh are perhaps Britain’s most popular city destinations and are England and Scotland’s capitals respectively. Travelling between the two by train has the advantage of taking you directly to and from the city centres, and giving you the chance to sight-see from the comfort of your carriage.

There are two options when travelling between London and Edinburgh by train – regular daytime trains from London Kings Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley station and the overnight Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston station and Edinburgh Waverley station which operate six nights a week.

The regular London to Edinburgh train takes just 4-5 hours and usually departs every hour. US based Rail Europe offer one stop service to the trade including discounted tickets and the option to add your own service fee. For more information please click here.

ASF’S Edinburgh Accommodation Recommendations


 Luxury Wow’ factor, and a stone throw from Edinburgh Castle

Minimalist Design: Hotel Missoni

Gothic indulgence:The Witchery

 Superior Edinburgh Style at a fair price

Central and stylish: Fraser Suites 

Boasting a stunning Whisky Lounge: Hotel Du Vin

Budget Spend your money on entertainment!

If you like the color orange, try Easyjet’s EasyHotel

A 5* Youth Hostel?! Yes, Edinburgh has one: Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel