Scotland’s most popular folk song is “Caledonia ” , says Scots band celebrating 40 years on the road
North Sea Gas, one of Scotland’s best-loved folk groups who have toured the world, reveal that the most popular Scottish song after 40 years is probably “Caledonia”.
The band, who have made 21 albums including over 270 songs and 70 Scottish and Irish tunes, are massively popular in the United States, Europe, and particularly Germany. ‘Fans expect us to play favourites like “Fear A’Bhata” and “Johnny Cope”’ said Dave Gilfillan, the band’s founder-member, ‘although we are continually recording new material and changing our show there is always a request for “Caledonia”.
From humble beginnings at The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket the band’s career has taken them to every part of the world with a regular pre-Covid circuit in Europe and North America. Their experiences include hosting legendary late night shows in the early 80s at the Caley Cinema in Edinburgh with guests such as Hamish Imlach and Johnny Cunningham. Appearing at many of the top folk festivals and sharing stages with Dame Edna Everage, and Gene Pitney, and many more household names over the years. They have also performed in more unusual settings, including Oil Rigs and Colditz Castle!
Paying their dues at every kind of venue in the early years led to theatres and television. The band’s 21 albums have seen various personnel changes and their 22nd album will be a triple compilation album (featuring new material) to mark the 40th anniversary, Named appropriately “A Long Road” .
The current North Sea Gas line-up has been the most stable with Gilfillan and fellow band member Ronnie MacDonald working together for twenty years and Grant Simpson joining them 16 years ago.
Band founder and only original member, Dave Gilfillan said, ‘The album will happen sometime in the near future as the COVID restrictions have not only decimated our touring schedule but lay waste to any plans for recording.’
He is, however, hopeful that North Sea Gas will be able to pick up their hectic schedule again as soon as the pandemic situation allows. ‘We’ve always aimed to provide great entertainment drawing on Scotland’s folk tradition. It’s my feeling that audiences will be more than ready for that. We’re raring to go. That’s the first forty years behind us and there’s plenty more to come.’