International & Local Talent Join Forces To ‘Gie A Haun’ Tae Ellisland!

Burnsians from across Scotland and the world come together this week for a special celebration at the home of Auld Lang Syne!

Award winning singer Emily Smith will headline an online evening celebrating Burns and Friendship on 22 January aimed at building support for Ellisland Farm, where the anthem to friendship was penned.

The concert offers an opportunity for amateur Burns enthusiasts to perform alongside leading professionals to a global online audience.

The evening also sees the official launch of the Auld Lang Syne Campaign which aims to recruit new members to the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, which safeguards the unspoiled farm house, built by Burns, on the banks of the River Nith.

Anyone who becomes a member of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust can attend the event for free. Non members can sign up on a “pay-what-you-can” basis through the Eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-evening-of-burns-at-ellisland-tickets-135500298039

Ms Smith, who is a trustee of Ellisland Farm, will perform favourites including ‘Tae the weavers gin ye go’ and ‘Gowden Locks o’ Anna’.

The singer is a former BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the year and was Scots Singer of the Year in the Trad Music Awards. Her debut album with her husband, Jamie McClennan, Small Town Stories, is a stunning and uplifting reflection of their shared life in the rural south west of Scotland.

The evening is compered by Professor Gerry Carruthers, Director of the Centre of Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow and also features celebrated tenor Alan Beck of the World Burns Federation who will perform ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, ‘Ye Banks and Braes’ and ‘O, Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast’ along with Polly Beck.

Mr Beck has sung with English National Opera, Welsh National Opera and State Opera Stuttgart and has taught at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Polly Beck has worked as a soloist for Scottish Opera and Lyric Opera Dublin and is also a leading voice teacher.

The evening will also feature Rose Byers, the Ellisland Young Ambassador & British Museum Volunteer of the Year, 2020 who will sing  ‘Collier Laddie’  & a fiddle tune.

The evening is intended to promote membership of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust and existing members are asked to encourage friends to join. Any individual donating £15 or more automatically becomes a member of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust and qualifies for exclusive access to future events, as well as the site when it re-opens after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The Auld Lang Syne Campaign asks lovers of the song to “Gie a Haun” to a campaign to help restore the farmhouse Burns designed himself as his first marital home with Jean Armour.

The site has changed little since Robert Burns’s time. It is known as “the poet’s choice” because Burns picked it on the basis of its inspiring river views. Visitors can walk the same wooded paths where the poet wrote many of his most famous works, including Tam o’ Shanter and Jo Anderson, my Jo as well as Auld Lang Syne.


The 18th century homestead on the site is unique in that it was designed to Burns’s own specifications. It is considered the best place to view nature through the poet’s eyes. Burns produced a large part of his musical output while resident at Ellisland and the Trust hope to develop it as a centre of music and song-writing in future.


Ellisland however requires significant investment to deal with dampness and structural issues and to adapt it for visitors in a way which remains sensitive to its special conservation status. Like many small museums it has been hard hit by the pandemic reducing visitor numbers.

Latest Articles