Freeland Barbour with Gerda Stevenson at Edinburgh Central Library
The White Rose of Gask, the Life and Songs of Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, (1766 – 1845), celebrates the achievements of this remarkable woman who, throughout her life, kept secret her identity as the writer of such well known songs as, ‘Will Ye no Come back again’, ‘The Rowan Tree’, and ‘Caller Herrin’. She wasn’t revealed as the writer until after her death with the publication in 1846 of almost one hundred of her songs: ‘The Lays of Strathearn’.
In ‘The White Rose of Gask’, Barbour draws on unique access to his family’s papers, in the process unveiling the intriguing character and personality of this talented and highly spirited woman. This personal exploration of the musical and artistic heritage of Oliphant, a formerly neglected literary figure is long overdue.
Freeland Barbour, born in Edinburgh and brought up in Perthshire, is one of Scotland’s leading accordionists and has performed with many of the world’s greatest traditional musicians. A BBC music producer for a number of years, Freeland has taught at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He runs a music publishing company and is the owner and former manager of Castlesound, one of the leading independent recording studios in the UK. He now lives in Edinburgh. Accompanying Freeland’s new biography of Carolina Oliphant is a new hardback edition of ‘The Lays of Strathearn’ by the late Finlay Dun, introduced and edited by Freeland Barbour.
Gerda Stevenson, award-winning writer, actor, theatre director and singer-songwriter, has worked in theatre, TV, radio, film, and opera, throughout Britain and abroad, appearing at literary festivals in Trinidad, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ireland and the UK. Recipient of Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland writers’ bursaries, she writes in English and Scots, and won the YES Arts Festival Poetry Challenge, 2013, and the Robert Tannahill Poetry Prize, 2017. Her stage plays include Federer Versus Murray, which toured to New York, 2012 (published there by Salmagundi), and Skeleton Wumman, an Oran Mor/Traverse Theatre/West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production, 2014.