A West Lothian professor delivered a lecture on one of the outstanding figures of the 20th century at the Scottish Parliament earlier this month.
Professor Fred Freeman, from Mid Calder, is Professor of Scots Language and Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was proud to be asked to orate the lecture on his old friend and colleague Hamish Henderson.
Hamish Henderson of Perthshire has been hailed one of the most brilliant Scots of his age with the great American folk musician Pete Seeger once saying 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.
Professor Freeman said: “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. “
Professor Freeman 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.
Angela Constance MSP for Almond Valley sponsored a lecture on the centenary of the birth of Hamish Henderson.
She 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.”