Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lou Reed Salutes Mr. Burns

According to the Sunday Herald, Lou Reed is going to play at the annual celebration of Robert Burns in Ayrshire. Here's the scoop:

This summer Lou Reed will pay tribute to Robert Burns at the annual celebration of the Scottish bard’s life and work in Ayrshire.

Reed, one of the most influential figures in contemporary music, will play alongside the orchestra of Scottish Opera in a performance featuring a line-up of special guests at the Burns And A’ That festival’s showpiece gala concert at Culzean Castle on May 20.

According to festival programmer, Stuart Nisbett of Unique Events, the combination of Reed and Burns is a perfect marriage. “Like Burns, Lou Reed is a rebel, a writer, a poet, a lyricist and an artist,” Nisbett told the Sunday Herald. “He is much more than just a pop singer – he epitomises a movement reflecting all aspects of the arts and is visible in every single person with a guitar round his neck in a band in Scotland today. We are delighted that he is coming to take part in our celebration of Burns.”

Purists may have difficulty with the idea, but, according to Nisbett, the contradictions in the line-up are planned: organisers want people to question their own attitudes to the bard.

“Burns is everything to all men, but he has been on the shortbread tin too long. He doesn’t just belong to Scotland – he is an international icon revered the world over, and we are always happy to have people from outside Scotland show how he has influenced them.”

Festival director Pete Irvine said: “What we are trying to do – put on a festival in a rural part of the country in celebration of a poet – is not normal; it’s something really different and special. Only certain people understand and relate to that and we are so pleased that Lou Reed is one of them.

Lou Reed’s career has spanned 40 years, during which he has authored many of the greatest songs of our time.... His performances have often confounded audiences, and during a 1973 debut at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow he was reportedly “carried on the stage and then carried back off”.

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