Come to turbulent 18th century Scotland with Castlebay



The poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) collected and wrote new lyrics for hundreds of traditional Scottish folk tunes which he felt were falling into obscurity. Working in both the Scots language and in English he produced many masterpieces of 18th century poetry and song. Among these are My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, Comin' Through the Rye and Auld Lang Syne, popular even today at New Year's celebrations. His short but colorful life has become the subject of both legend and scholarly documentary.

The duo Castlebay (Julia Lane & Fred Gosbee) have studied the man,the myth, and the music. They have presented lecture/performances for concert series, elder hostels, libraries, and schools in New England, Maritime Canada, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Florida. In their program romantic love songs are interspersed with lively dance tunes as well as poems and anecdotes about the Scotland's National Poet.

Much of Burns's work is in the Scots language of the lowlands. While related to English there is quite a different vocabulary. Castlebay performs some of the songs in English but most of them in Scots. They have received compliments from American audiences on their ability to make the lyrics understandable and from native Scots speakers on the authenticity of their presentations.

Castlebay is well known for their sensitive arrangements of traditional Scottish music. Both Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee are fine vocalists and support their singing with a variety of instruments including Celtic harp, 12-string guitar, fiddle, Irish flute and tin whistle. They have toured the British Isles annually since 1993 playing at folk clubs, art centres, and festivals.

How does it sound? Try the audio files or watch the concert video on this page.

For information about our touring schedule and fees please contact Castlebay.

Castlebay are members of AFM Local 1000 and are eligible for grant funding from the New England States Touring Roster. Contact NEST for more information.


Rantin', Rovin' Robin

Aye Waulkin-O

Of All the Airts

The De'il's Awa' Wi' the Exciseman

Quotes & Reviews

"Thank you so much for coming to the Ridgefield Library to share the fascinating life and work of Robert Burns with our audience. What a wonderful evening of music, poetry, and song. You can't get a better combination than that!

Everyone I spoke to afterwards really enjoyed the show, especially the Scottish contingent. I think you probably made a lot of people yearn for the "old country!"

Good luck and thanks again,

Leslie Lambton
Adult Programming Director
The Ridgefield Library and Historical Association
Ridgefield, Connecticut

Your Performance at Crandall on April 7th was everything I hoped it would be – delightful, entertaining and inspiring. It seemed to me you invited us into a world of music and poetry that was very special. We all had a wonderful time with you, as you shared your knowledge of the life and times of Robert Burns.

I can't remember when I heard a person's life described so truthfully and with such sympathy. Burns is a completely human and flawed character, yet you helped us warm to him and admire him. Your own enjoyment of the music and poetry is infectious. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with us.

Many people in the audience that night came up to me later to thank me for this program, but the thanks goes to you. Let us know when you are next playing in this area."

Katherine Chansky
Crandall Public Library
Glens Falls, NY


Newsletter and concert summary

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We send out the newsletter 6-12 times a year. You will get a bit of news about our adventures, pre-release info about our recordings and a summary of upcoming concerts. You can opt out of our mailing list any time.

Concerts in Brief

  • Jan 23
    St Andrews Village,  Boothbay Harbor
  • Mar 12
    The Ridge,  Exeter
  • Mar 15
    Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church,  Baltimore
  • Mar 16
    Lakewood Manor,  Richmond
  • Mar 18
    Well-Spring Retirement Community,  Greensboro