The Baltic Tae
Byzantium

songs, images, histories..

 
Brian created this show to mark the 10th anniversary of Celtic Connections.  

Clementina Walkinshaw

 
The links between Europe and Scotland, its northernmost Atlantic breakwater, have always been strong. The Baltic Tae Byzantium explores those links through the lives of Scots who saw the European continent in particular as a place of promise, of commercial chance, of cultural and social sophistication.
Brian firmly believes that the story of the individual is the best way to illustrate the history of the whole. He has researched the lives of six Scots, some famous, some not, in whose lives the European experience was a significant factor. How much of the tragedy of Mary Queen of Scots was dictated by her previous incarnation as Queen of France? How much of John Knox's fervent faith came from his experiences as pastor to English congregations in Geneva and Frankfurt? What drove General Tam Dalyell to seek service with the Czar of Russia? What was it like for Clementina Walkinshaw to follow the exiled Bonny Prince Charlie to Flanders? Who was the Austrian girl who changed the
life of Brian's father James, a Falkirk bakers apprentice, at the end of the second world war?
But the show doesn't concentrate only on individuals. There were significant Scottish communities in Europe, and these are examined as well. How many people today know of the Scottish monasteries in Wrzburg or Regensburg in Germany, or of the Scottish wool merchants in Veere in Holland? What was the involvement of the Scots in Sweden's trade with China? And why is there a village in Poland called Scotland?
Brian uses song, melody, story and rich visual image to answer in The Baltic Tae Byzantium.