Call it Alba was written by Alan Murray in early 1997 when class P4/8 at Cuiken School were searching for a song with lots of Scottish place-names as part of a project on Scotland. Alan’s initial aim was to protect them from the dreadfully cheesy Song of the Clyde, but Alba has since acquired a life of its own, which gives us all huge pleasure. It’s also a fun coincidence that “the band” and the producer, Sooz, Paul, Ali and Dave are all ex-pupils of Cuiken, of varying vintages.We are grateful to Head Teachers Frances Wilson, June Gemmell, Judith Mathers, Anne Robertson and Joanne Taylor and to all the Cuiken Staff who have “supported” Alba and put up with their pupils bellowing it regularly over the past 20 years.
Alba expresses a strongly-held political view of mine … that if you make Scotland your home, you are Scottish. Place of birth, colour, religion are all irrelevant. The land belongs to you and you belong to it. So there! Please sing it and distribute it widely and freely to whomsoever you like. All I ask is that you …
let me know when you do via this Contact form.
In particular, if you want a change to a verse to mention where you are, I will do my best to oblige!
Alba has now appeared in The Huffington Post!
Downloads …to download an mp3 file – right-click on it and the “save link as”.
If you enjoy singing Call it Alba, you may also enjoy Is it a Right?
and finally … here are the lyrics ….
I can stand high on Rannoch and look down on Glencoe
I can dream of the Jacobites who died in the snow
I can sail up the Forth and watch the bridges gliding by
I can watch the smoke of Grangemouth painting dirty watercolours in the sky
This is my land … Caledonia …
Call it “Scotland”, call it “Alba” or the “Land o’ the Leal”
Land of factory and shipyard, of heather and sea …
I belong to the land I live in
and the land is in the deepest part of me
There’s a monster in a loch and there’s a submarine down there.
There’s fishing boats in Buckie and there’s berryfields in Blair’
There are galleries in Glasgow and there’s rigs off Aberdeen
and there’s castles nearly everywhere from Wick and John O’ Groats to Gretna Green!
From Stromness up to Lerwick, there’s a ferry you can ride
In Mull and Crail and Staffa there are caves where you can hide
From Penicuik to Broughton, you can walk the Border Hills
and from Peebles down to Kelso you can hear the clanking looms and rumbling mills
I can see from the castle to the Ochils and the sea
I can stand in Fife and look across the Tay to see Dundee
I can look across the Tweed to Flodden Field and Yetholm Town
and see all the way to Ireland as I face the west to watch the sun go down