Almost everybody in Scotland has a Robert Burns book at home. National pride demands this.
Everybody up and down the land will eat at least once a year in commemoration of the bard’s birthday the celebrated of all celebrated national dishes of Scotland: the “Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-Race”, the Haggis. Robert Burns wrote his famous ode the “Address to a Haggis“, which was excellently performed by our long-standing ABS member Mary Geissler (maiden name Chapman). Since she is also my wife, I assure you there was no nepotism involved: the promise of a wee dram or two at the end of the address was incentive enough for her.
Burn’s Nights are a serious business not only in Scotland but also in Vienna organised by the Robert Burns Society Austria. Many of their members, about 200, were dressed in their splendid kilts, the Caledonian Pipes and Drums Burgenland providing the stirring Scottish flair, and we listened to Tini Kainrath & Vienna Folk Trio who treated to love songs and other songs (who does not remember the slippery verses of “Jennie in the field”?) competently translated by Dieter Berdel from Scots into Viennese Dialect but also to the most beautiful performance by the Burns Brass & Pipe Sextett. What an experience!
The ABS was present in force, having joined the Burns Society for the first time, occupying a long table in front of the stage. Membership, as usual, had its privilege: drinks were free! It felt strange though that on this occasion we were deprived of our President’s welcoming words but he was impressively attired in a kilt.
It was an evening of Scottish Food, drink, music and poetry in a grand atmosphere: a Burns Celebration with a different spin. Again, those of you who couldn’t make it, you missed a lot!