The Paisley weaver poet and songwriter: celebrating Robert Tannahill

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Paisley weaver poet and songwriter Robert Tannahill and reevaluating his legacy and cultural impact.

Celebrate Robert Tannahill, the Paisley weaver poet and songwriter, with this talk and live musical illustrations from Professor Fred Freeman. Dissenting from prevailing notions that label Tannahill as ‘sweetly sentimental,’ Freeman’s lecture positions him as a major poet who expanded the tradition of British ‘rationalist’ pastoralism. The lecture explores the significance of traditional Scottish musical forms, including jigs and reels, by delving into the intricate fusion of words and music in Tannahill’s compositions. Freeman also probes Tannahill’s role in Scotland’s multicultural context.

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About RSE investigates…

Every year, the Royal Society of Edinburgh explores a key topic through its ‘RSE investigates’ series, engaging community leaders and experts to tackle pivotal questions. This year, we investigate Scotland’s creative industries, examining their role as a catalyst for change and how they help to address contemporary challenges. As Scotland’s National Academy, we celebrate interdisciplinary expertise that fosters innovation across sectors like art, literature, technology, academia, and culture. This year’s series highlights the importance of supporting libraries, celebrating literary traditions, understanding architecture’s role in identity, and exploring Scotland’s impact on countercultural creativity.

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Professor Fred Freeman

Professor of Scots Language and Scots Song at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Fred Freeman is a graduate of Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities (PhD); SAM of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Author of a book on the 18th-century poet Robert Fergusson, a children’s book on Robert Tannahill (2009), and over 100 articles on Scottish literature, folk music, and history. Recognised by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies in 2014 with a lifetime Hon Fellowship for his contribution to Scottish literary studies. Producer of some 49 internationally acclaimed CDs, including The Complete Songs of Robert Burns and The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill.

Chair to be announced soon.

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Friday May 17th, 2024 19:00-21:00


The Royal Society of Edinburgh


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