'Scotland The Brave' - patriotic, popular and heart-felt.
Traditional Scottish bagpipe music is like the essence of this small country in a sound.
So, you might think this soul-stirring piece would be the ideal national anthem for a country whose history is so full of fearless warriors, bloody battles and passionate loyalties, I did.
But not all the people of Scotland feel the same way.
Find out why this combination of traditional Scottish music and soul-stirring lyrics isn't an official Scottish national anthem (and more) here.
The lyrics for 'Scotland the Brave' were written in 1951 by the multi-talented Cliff Hanley (he was a journalist, author, songwriter, public speaker and more).
Cliff was a Glaswegian (born in Glasgow) and this piece was originally only intended to be sung at a musical performance at Glasgows' Empire Theater.
But it immediately touched the hearts and souls of the Scottish people and became hugely popular. If you were a football (soccer) fan, this is the song that you'd be singing in the stands!
It did have a rival for the affection of the people though - another piece of traditional Scottish music, 'The Flower of Scotland' which was traditionally sung at rugby matches and at other celebrations such as Burns' Night and St. Andrews' Night.
As there was no official Scottish National Anthem, in 2006 an online voting system was set up through the website of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra that allowed the Scottish people to vote for one of four popular Scottish songs... the winner would become the national anthem.
The songs in question were Scotland The Brave, The Flower of Scotland, Highland Cathedral and Scots Wha Hae!
The Flower of Scotland was the clear winner with 41% of the votes, and Scotland The Brave came in second with 29% but is so well-loved that it is still thought of as the 'unofficial' national anthem of Scotland.
* As of March 2015, it seems that The Flower of Scotland will NOT be recognized as Scotland's national anthem as a recent petition was rejected by MSP's. It is however recognized as Scotland's national sporting anthem... for now.
Hark, when the night is falling
Hear, hear the pipes are calling
Loudly and proudly calling
Down through the Glen.
There where the hills are sleeping
Now feel the blood a-leaping
High as the spirits
Of the old highland men.
Towering in gallant fame
Scotland my mountain hame
High may your proud standards
Land of my high endeavor
Land of the shining river
Land of my heart forever
Scotland the brave!
High in the misty highlands
Out by the purple islands
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies
Wild are the winds to meet you
Staunch are the friends that greet you
Kind as the light that shines
From fair maiden's eyes.
Far off in sunlit places
Sad are the Scottish faces
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming
for the homeland again.
Now you've heard the story behind this song, and read the lyrics, so it's time to actually hear the song itself.
And a few images of the beautiful country to which this song belongs can't hurt either! So, take a few moments to enjoy these music videos and get a taste of Scotland..... even if you're not Scottish I'm pretty sure you'll still get the 'chills'.
This first video has a haunting quality and the landscapes are beautiful....
If this music has sparked something in your soul (or you just like it!), you can hear some other great traditional Scottish music on these CD's - but be warned, you may get 'hooked'.