Tag Archives: Hannah Read

ASF Scots In Us Podcast CURRENT EPISODE: Monday November 21st 7PM

This week, we have have turned our focus to children and share with you the wonderful work each of our guests are undertaking: Join us as we are In conversation with David Cunningham CEO, Kids Operating Room as we learn of the work of this Scottish charity who are bring children access to life-changing and life-saving surgery from Africa to Latin America, transforming the lives of vulnerable children.

 We are joined by Virginia Radcliffe and Ruby Zajac from Glasgow based Licketyspit  Theater Company who shares with us their innovative ways they connect and engage with young people and their families using music, drama and play.

 Author Pavle Sabic joins us and introduces us to the best travelled and kindest of Otters, Walter the Wanderer.

With music from Hannah Read, Alan Frew and Iona Zajac from Lickeyspit.

You can listen to our podcast on a variety of platforms, including AnchorApple Podcasts and Spotify.

Thousands of spectators show their Scottish pride at the 2018 Tartan Day Parade

We take a moment here to look back at the 20th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade which took place on April 7th, the highlight to a week of events… so much to report on, so many to thank – and we have to mention how we were under the threat of snow – and it didnt happen – brisk but clear.

Related imageASF presented several events during the week in addition to a series of lunchtime concerts at Bryant Park.  A thank you to all those who helped with the programming which included

– Tea with a Highlander, a talk with celebrated author The Hon. Sarah Fraser of Lovat introducing us to ‘The Prince who would Be King’, co-hosted by Clans & Castles , Walkers Shortbread, Harper Collins and Harneys Teas

– an opportunity to learn more around the discovering of your Scottish roots with Dr Bruce Durie

– ‘A Taste of Scotland’ with a menu prepared by Scotland’s National Chef Gary MacLean,  co-hosted with City of Glasgow College

–  ASF Members & Friends Post Parade Reception at which we were joined by many guests from Scotland including the Archie Foundation, Clans & Castles, The Convenyor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs Donald MacLeod of MacLeod, members of VisitScotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Office.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, crowd and outdoorThank you to all who joined the The American-Scottish Foundation® contingenet and marched with us in the 20th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade – AND to all those who cheered us on.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, walking and outdoorKT Tunstall was a fabulous Grand Marshal – the first woman to lead the Parade.  AND Congratulations to all the volunteers and our fellow NYC Tartan Week committee members – EVERYONE did a great

We have discovered a few highlights of  Parade Day captured in a video  on You Tube.  – from the Pipes and Drums on the Fountain Terrace presented by The American-Scottish Foundation® at Bryant Park and onward to the Parade.

A thank you to The Accrington Pipe BandThe Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic WatchShamrock and Thistle Pipes and DrumsThe Highland DivasShot of Scotch – NYC’s Premier Scottish Highland Dancers and Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Bandl for being part of the pre Parade Bryant Park concert, https://youtu.be/W-cPpsj2wBQ

Prior to the Parade the young band of pipers from Sgoli Lionacleit had an opportunity to meet Keith Brown MSP for Clackmannanshire & Dunblane who could not resist the opportunity to try out a snare drum which he is pictured “carrying” below.

Image may contain: 15 people, people smiling

The Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band  performed twice at Bryant Park – and for their second performance they were joined by 18 year old Lisa Kowalski  who is winning recognition throughout the UK – this was her first visit to New York and the Parade.  The involvement of the young performers is something ASF fully embraces within our ongoing bursary program – and reflects Scotland’s message of  the Year of Young People.

Also taking part in the lunchtime concerts were Craig Weir and the multi talented Hannah Read – who left the following day for a month long tour in support of her latest album. Both Craig and Hannah have helped us in the development of the lunchtime concerts, a Thank you to everyone who took part.

Great performances from all

The Daily News carried a great report on the day which we link to below… “Scots of all ages proudly celebrated their homeland during the 2018 Tartan Day Parade in Manhattan on April 7, 2018.

Image result for daily news tartan day paradeThe annual march, now in its 20th year, was led by Scottish singer   KT Tunstall and included pipers playing traditional Scottish songs, dancers, flag twirlers, aplenty of dogs for the cheering crowd of spectators.” New York Daily News:


Celtic Connection logo Jamie McGeechan aka Little Fire has sent through news from
Celtic Connection music festival.

Celtic Connection is Glasgow’s annual music festival, now in it’s 22nd year, and featuring the best of Scottish music talent. It is now the largest winter music festival in the drawing artists, and audiences, from around the globe.

Kris-Kristofferson-460x250The lineup of artists is enormous, from       Kris Kristofferson headlining The Roaming Roots Revue, to The Chieftains, Rickie Lee Jones, Eddi Reader to the great reception for the Scottish debut of Songs of Seperation, the ten women collective featuring New York based Scot, Hannah Read.

With over 2000 artists performing at the festival in over 300 concerts there really is something for everyone and for all tastes.

Old Fruitmarket ExternalPrimarily folk, roots and world music, the festival is a cross-pollination of artists from different countries and musical genres.  There are wonderful concerts for over two weeks at such venues as The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the The Old Fruitmarket, Òran Mór to name but a few.

Some of the highlights at Celtic Connections 2016 so far include;

James Yorkston, Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan,                                                                  Tron Theatre, 19th January

yorkston  James Yorkston is one of the most respected and innovative members of the Scottish folk scene,. He has played a huge part in development of musicians such as KT Tunstall,               King Creosote and The Pictish Trail. The performance at Celtic Connections showed his continued ability to innovate, engage and evolve.

Youngston was joined by New Delhi based musician Suhail Yusuf Khan and expert double bass player Jon Thorne.

Alan Frew,                                                                   ALan Frew CConnection
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 21st January

As part of a special broadcast for Celtic Music Radio Scottish singer-songwriter Alan Frew performed a captivating set which had the audience spellbound.

Playing tracks from his debut album Go Easy, he combined talented guitar playing with beautiful, haunting vocals. Alan was a joy to listen to performing fan favourites Mary Go and Denise is Gone.

Roaming Roots Revue,
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall , 23rd January


The Roddy Hart curated musical feast is one of the major highlights of the festival with a different theme each year, with talent drawn from across the globe.  This year the theme was of the Troubadour – the wandering music maker and minstrel – and the supporting cast brought together a cross section of the best presented at Celtic Connections.

International star Kris Kristofferson topped the bill of talent including Justin Currie, Blue Rose Code, Honeyblood and Frazey FordA fantastic evening.


songs of seperation performingSongs of Seperation          MitchellTheatres, 24th January

This brilliant project involves some of the very best female folk artists in the UK coming together for a collaborative initiative and meeting of minds, cultures and hearts.

The artists were brought together to write and record original material drawing on the theme of separation; between communities, countries and loved ones.

This project is truly something unique and their performance at Celtic Connections was their Scottish debut. It’s hard to describe just how wonderful this concert was but I can safely say it’s one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had.

Songs of Separation album is released on January 29th, don’t miss it.

A major triumph of talents, skill from some of the finest musicians Britain has produced – Eliza Carthy, Hannah Read, Hannah James, Hazel Askew, Jenn Butterworth, Jenny Hill, Karine Polwart, Kate Young, Mary Macmaster and Rowan Rheingans.

There are so many fantastic gigs at Celtic Connections featuring so many brilliant talents that it’s quite impossible to even get to a fraction of the concerts I’d like to.

Sometimes the unexpected gigs I find myself at can be some amongst the most memorable of concerts.

The Festiva lClub and Late Night Sessions see brilliant talent popping up in venues across the city with the music going into the wee small hours.

Where else would you rather be?

Hope to see you at Celtic Connections next year!

Songs of Separation: Groundbreaking Female Folk Talent on the Isle of Eigg

On the picturesque Isle of Eigg in the Northwest of Scotland, ten of the UK’s groundbreaking female folk musicians have been exploring the theme of separation through their songs.

The project, titled SONGS OF SEPARATION, brings together the musical talent of celebrated artists Eliza CarthyKarine PolwartMary MacmasterKate YoungHannah JamesHazel AskewRowan RheingansJenn ButterworthHannah Read, and Jenny Hill. Though the 11540917_1662199680666646_7537123944153860386_nmusicians are individually based in cities across the UK and the US, they came together as a group for the first time on the island and began the process over the last week of rehearsing, arranging, and recording an album of traditional songs which explore the theme of separation in its many forms. The result of this collaboration: a political, personal, and powerful musical reflection relevant to our world today.


Hannah Read performing at Bryant Park during New York Tartan Week 2015


Recently, we were delighted to catch up with project member and talented musician Hannah Read, a native of Edinburgh and regular collaborator with the American-Scottish Foundation who spent much of her childhood on the Isle of Eigg. “It’s an amazing place,” said Read, “and it’s also where I really got excited about music when I was little.”

The tiny island famously gained independence from an absent landlord almost twenty years ago, making it a particularly relevant location to reflect on the ideas of independence, separation, and collaboration.



For Read, who is now based in New York City, the project has not only been a chance to return to her roots, but also a rare opportunity to work with fellow artists she has looked up to all her life. “It’s such an honor to be playing and working alongside all these brilliant musicians,” she said. “These are women who I’ve looked up to my entire life – it’s a real treat to be able to work alongside them.”

Though the project draws both inspiration and structure from its theme, Read emphasized the importance of the organic process. “Collaboration is the center of the whole thing,” she said. “I love the idea of all these women being in the same room, coming in with our own ideas but letting things breathe and seeing what works in the setting, and I know a lot of the other women agree with that as well. I think the energy between us will generate so many more ideas. We’ll all be learning by ear – we’ll all be teaching each other by ear.”

Read also commented on the theme’s ability to span across eras and places: “The Highland Clearances come up in a lot of traditional songs, as well as emigration – and with the connection of separation to the referendum, this collaboration is a really exciting and relevant way to explore ideas of place, belonging, and relationships.”

“I’ve been away from Scotland for so long, and in that way I’ve had my own experience of separation,” said Read. “I’m so excited to get back into the traditional music scene in Scotland and work with these amazing women. It’s a real honor.”

1524837_1662199573999990_4795420930961698356_nThe results of the project will be a variety of recordings and traditional songs on the theme of separation, including two newly composed songs, a residential rehearsal and recording week on the Isle of Eigg, and two field recordings at the sites of the ‘Big Women of Eigg’ legend. In addition, there will also be a short documentary film, to be available for free online, as well as daily film posts during the residential week, available now on the Songs of Separation Facebook pageThe expected release date of the album is September 18, 2015.

For a preview of the group’s incredible work, watch them sing the the Unst Boat Song from Cathedral Cave on the Isle of Eigg:

For quick access to tracks and images, please contact:  jen@songsofseparation.co.ukFor more information about the project, please visit the Songs of Separation homepage at http://www.songsofseparation.co.uk/.


New Single from The Isles: “John James”

Friend of ASF Hannah Read, who lent her presence at our annual Burns Supper last month, and her band, The Isles, recently released the lead single on their soon-to-be released album, “Embers.”


Featuring gorgeous three-part harmonies from Ms. Read (voice/fiddle/acoustic guitar), Tamsin Wilson (voice/acoustic guitar/dobro), and Megan Lui (voice/electric guitar), who hail from Scotland, California, and England, the song is masterful in its blending. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the album!

The single premiered on The Bluegrass Situation, and is now available for download. Have a listen:


Burns Night is Almost Here!

As Burns Night quickly approaches, and festivities are in full swing, let’s take a look back in time at this centuries-old celebration and its namesake bard!

  • Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most celebrated national poets, is remembered throughout the world for his poems and compositions. His poem-turned-song, Auld Lang Syne, is a particular favorite to be sung at Hogmanay and New Year’s celebrations across the globe
  • Burns Night celebrations and suppers take place around the time of year of Robert Burns’s birthday and have been held for over 200 years to celebrate his life and work
  • The celebrations were originally instated by friends of Robert Burns to commemorate the five-year anniversary of his death
  • A traditional Burns supper will often involve haggis, whisky, and the recitation of Burns’s poetry (visit this online archive for a complete index of Burns’s works), as well as piping in the guests, an address to the haggis and a ‘toast to the lassies’

Test your knowledge of Burns Night with this quiz, and take a look at this fantastic video by AboutScotland for a short animation on the story of Robert Burns:

If you haven’t yet picked up your tickets for the 20th annual ASF Burns Night Gala Celebration on Friday, January 16 at The University Club of New York, there’s still time! We’re delighted that acclaimed Ayr singer Jamie McGeechan, known as “Little Fire,” will be joining us for the evening and playing music as part of the festivities. The supper will also feature the wonderful music of vocalist Maureen McMullen and Hannah Read and Friends.

Little Fire. Image courtesy of Iain Brown/Ayrshire Post

We can’t wait to see you and honor one of Scotland’s most celebrated poets in style, song, and verse!