Scottish Celtic band Reely Jiggered visits Pakistan for Burns Night

Islamabad: Scottish Celtic band Reely Jiggered are visiting Pakistan for Burns Night – the annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. The band will play at the Charity Ball at the British High Commission, held every year to honour Robert Burns. In its first leg of the tour, the band was in Lahore on Thursday and visited the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust Higher Secondary school (SNPET), where their performance gave students an opportunity to explore Celtic folk music.  Alison McNeill, the lead vocalist of the band, said: “This is our second visit to Pakistan and I am thrilled to be here. These students were one of the best audiences we had, and it’s a pleasant surprise to know that Burns Night is being celebrated in Pakistan with such enthusiasm. This highlights the strong connection between Pakistan and Scotland.” The band took part in awarding Pakistan Scottish Scholarship to students that aims to make higher education more accessible to underprivileged girls across Pakistan. These scholarships are given in the fields of education, sustainable energy, agriculture and food security, health sciences, and STEM education. British Council’s Area Director Punjab Maarya Rehman, and Dean of College of Pharmacology Dr Syed Nawazish-e-Hussain from Punjab University, presented the scholarships to students.  British Council’s Area Director Punjab Maarya Rehman said: “This scheme was launched in 2013 in collaboration with the Scottish Government. With their support, we have been able to assist over 500 young Pakistani women pursue higher education in fields of critical importance. We hope that not only will these scholarships increase female participation in higher education but also promote greater gender equality in fields that women in Pakistan don’t typically pursue.” Afterwards, the band entertained the university students with their mix of Celtic folk music and Mexican and Cuban beats to showcase a unique fusion of funk, rock, pop and jazz. Later in the evening, the British Council Lahore Library hosted Reely Jiggered and their mashup of the world’s most upbeat tunes. Several families and music lovers were present and they enjoyed the Scottish band’s performance in the city of culture. Reely Jiggered are an award winning Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) band inspired by Celtic (pronounced sel-tic) Folk and world music. They have toured international music festivals around the world. The band includes Alison McNeill (fiddle and vocals), Fiona McNeill (guitar, bodhran and vocals) and Scott McLean (percussion). Burns Night, which is celebrated around the world, involves Scottish dancing and eating Haggis, a traditional food.