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Simply Scottish

Celtic Music

Scottish history and culture with a mix of traditional and modern Scottish music. Take a virtual trip to Scotland on every episode!


Seattle, WA


Scottish history and culture with a mix of traditional and modern Scottish music. Take a virtual trip to Scotland on every episode!



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Episode 91: A Simply Scottish Christmas

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and we're celebrating the season Scottish-style! Enjoy a great selection of Scottish Christmas music, including bagpipes, Celtic hymns, and a brand new Christmas single from popular Scottish band Deacon Blue. We'll discuss what the phrase "Simply Scottish" means, and you'll hear from Andrew's father Andrew McDiarmid Sr. as he shares memories of a childhood Christmas in Scotland in a clip from our radio archives. Wishing you and your family a blessed and merry Christmas! This episode was originally released in December 2013.


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Episode 90: Planning Your Trip to Scotland

On this episode, Andrew shares 11 top experiences you'll want to add to your own Scottish itinerary! From the summit of Arthur's Seat and the peak of Ben Nevis to the villages along the North Coast 500 and the fresh cuisine on the Isle of Skye, be inspired by these memorable places and activities. Plus, enjoy music from newcomer Katie McFarlane, pianist Neil Pearlman, Gaelic supergroup Daimh, and the Northern Soul sounds of Glasgow musician Kenny Lee Roberts. Want more? Get exclusive episodes, articles, and more when you join our Patreon clan. Learn more at


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Episode 89: Growing Up in Scotland's Capital, pt. 3

On this episode of Simply Scottish, journey with us to two Edinburgh landmarks as Andrew shares more memories of his childhood in the Athens of the North. Today, The Meadows is a beautiful city park. Discover how the space has been used across the centuries by locals, from drinking water and war garden to derby soccer and the world's fair. Andrew also shares two memories connected to the city's ancient volcano Arthur's Seat, adored by hillwalkers and climbers alike and home to the best views Edinburgh can offer. Along the way, enjoy new and stirring music from Joy Dunlop, Celtic Worship, and Iain Fraser!


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Episode 88: Finding John Muir, pt. 1

Journey with us in the footsteps of Scottish-American naturalist, conservationist, and inventor John Muir! Host Andrew reports on an extraordinary experience visiting the Muir Papers and exhibit at the University of the Pacific in California. Hear what it's like to open and examine boxes of Muir's original papers, letters, and fragments. Plus, a selection of great music as always, including Sheena Wellington, Valtos & Project Smok, and Doron Diamond. And don't miss Finding John Muir, pt. 2 - available to members of our Patreon Clan. Join today!


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Episode 87: Soul of Freedom: How Robert Burns Inspired America

Scotland's national poet Robert Burns has had a profound impact on the United States since the early years of the republic. On this episode, Andrew talks to nationally syndicated radio host and fellow Scot Janet Parshall on how Burns inspired countless Americans, including two leaders instrumental in America's fight to end slavery: abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Douglass found great encouragement in Burns and considered himself Scottish at heart. At a Burns celebration in New York in 1849, he mused, "If a warm love of Scotch character—a high appreciation of Scotch genius—constitute any of the qualities of a true Scotch heart, then indeed does a Scotch heart throb beneath these ribs." Plus, we dip into the Simply Scottish Radio Archive to bring you a 1999 reading from my father and former co-host Andrew Sr. He delivers the famous Burns poem "A Man’s A Man For A’ That." And as usual, you’ll hear some lovely Scottish music, this time from Graham Mackenzie, Amer//Hawskworth//Munro, and The Proclaimers.


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Episode 86: Living the Braveheart Life, pt. 2

Enjoy the second half of our interview with Braveheart writer and Academy Award nominee Randall Wallace! Learn how to live the Braveheart life as we unpack the lessons Randall shares in his book Living the Braveheart Life. Topics include the importance of mentors, why we all need an Uncle Argyle in our lives, and how we can live out the spirit of freedom as William Wallace did. Plus new music from classical guitarist Cam Ash, acclaimed fiddler John McCusker, and Highland accordianist and vocalist Calum MacPhail.


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Episode 85: Living the Braveheart Life: A Conversation with Randall Wallace, pt. 1

On this episode, Andrew interviews Braveheart writer and Academy Award nominee Randall Wallace! Hear about the trip to Scotland that introduced Randall to the story of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace. Discover how Randall learned to be a master storyteller and go on to write and direct several box office hit movies, including We Were Soldiers, Pearl Harbor, and Secretariat. Randall also reveals how to unleash your inner warrior, teacher, and outlaw to live the Braveheart life yourself. Along the way, enjoy rousing music from Cameron Ash and Elaine Meyer. This is Part 1 of a two-part interview.


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Episode 84: Edinburgh In Its Golden Age

In this second installment of our Off The Shelf series, host Andrew dusts off a splendid wee book from the 1960s that brings to life the people and places of Edinburgh in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. You get to imagine you're visiting a friend in the majestic Old Town as well as the beautiful New Town. Learn what it was like to live in Scotland's capital city at the height of its glory. And yes, there's a little gory in there too as we touch on the infamous case of the body snatchers! Along the way, enjoy stirring music from Su-a Lee, Teannaich, Fraser Fifield, and Corrina Hewitt.


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Episode 83: Tracing Your Scottish Roots, pt. 1 (Wee Yin #9)

On the latest Wee Yin episode, Andrew kicks off a new occasional series designed to help you trace your Scottish roots. Learn the basics, like where to turn to start your search and what types of information are out there. Also, find out how you can unlock bonus episodes and other content by becoming a supporter of Simply Scottish. Plus, how to get your hands on some of our authentic Scottish shortbread. Enjoy great Scottish music along the way from Patsy Reid, Gnoss, Charlie Grey, and Joseph Peach.


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Episode 82: Queen Elizabeth II (Six Degrees of Scotland, pt. 6)

In the latest installment of our popular Six Degrees of Scotland series, we pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by exploring her connections to Scotland and its people. Discover Balmoral Castle, the queen’s paradise in the Scottish highlands. Learn why Elizabeth II was often more popular among Scots than the monarchy itself. And we’ll look at how the queen’s example of duty and morality inspired generations across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Along the way, enjoy music from Jocelyn Pettit, Elephant Sessions, Robyn Stapleton, and Breabach.


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Episode 81: Growing Up in Scotland's Capital, pt. 2 (Wee Yin #8)

We're taking you back to Scotland in the 80s! Join host Andrew McDiarmid as he shares more memories of his childhood in Scotland's capital city Edinburgh. Learn about Edinburgh's Italian connection through Tino Luca and his amazing ice-cream business, as well as business partners Alfonso and Sam and their 50-year legacy of cutting the hair of celebrities and locals alike. Plus, Andrew sings a song about Edinburgh, and you'll hear some great new music from Celtic Worship, Kinnaris Quintet, Kim Edgar, and Rachel Sermanni. Get your 1980s fix and learn something new on our latest Wee Yin!


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Episode 80: Profiles: Elsie Inglis and Sir Harry Lauder (Radio Archive #85)

On this episode, we're dusting off selections from a radio episode of Simply Scottish that originally aired in April 2000! Hear Andrew Jr and his father Andrew Sr. profile two courageous Scots - medical pioneer Elsie Inglis and performing legend Sir Harry Lauder. You'll also hear Andrew's dad share a funny story from his tour of the Scottish Highlands back in 1978. Plus, great music you won't want to miss from Bonnie Rideout, Gnoss, Capercaillie, Runrig, Harry Lauder, and Paul Mckenna Band!


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Episode 79: All About the Music, Vol. 1

On this episode of Simply Scottish, it's all about the music! Enjoy a mix of classic songs and brand new tracks, handpicked by host Andrew McDiarmid. Featuring Deacon Blue, Capercaillie, Eddi Reader, Salsa Celtica, Iain Fraser, Simon Thoumire, and David McGuinness. Warning: the music contained in this episode may cause toe tapping, smiling, daydreaming, and the sudden packing of bags bound for bonnie Scotland!


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Episode 78: John Muir and the Grand Canyon

You've probably heard of Scottish naturalist and conservationist John Muir, but did you know he almost lost his eyesight in an accident that changed the course of his life? Find out what happened, and listen as we share some stirring passages from Muir's essay describing the magnificence and wonder of the Grand Canyon. Plus, enjoy a mix of brand new and classic Scottish music from Tina Jordan Rees, Wolfstone, the Scott Wood Band, and Alistair Ogilvy.


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Episode 77: Basketball & Books: James Naismith and Lucy Maud Montgomery (Wee Yin #7)

Wee Yins are shorter episodes of Simply Scottish you can play anytime, anywhere! In this latest entry in our Six Degrees of Scotland series, learn the Scottish and spiritual roots of basketball as we profile minister and athlete James Naismith. And we'll look at fellow Scottish-Canadian Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the popular children's novel Anne of Green Gables. Plus, enjoy brand new and recent music from Maeve Mackinnon, Megan Henderson, and Sarah Markey.


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Episode 76: Covenanter: Scotland's Battle for Religious Freedom

To fully appreciate our freedoms today, we have to understand the history behind them. In this episode of Simply Scottish, we take you back to 17th century Scotland to tell the story of the Covenanters, brave men and women who put God before kings and fought for the freedom to worship according to their conscience and conviction. We'll also look at how the Covenanters inspired the American founders in their quest to form a new government for the people. Plus, enjoy music from Bradley Parker, Iona Fyfe, Kate & Raphael, and Alan Reid & Rob van Sante.


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Episode 75: Ronald Reagan's Scottish Roots (Wee Yin #6)

Did you know that former U.S. president Ronald Reagan is related to a radical weaver from Paisley? On our latest Wee Yin, we look at Reagan's Scottish ancestry to see where he might have gotten the tenacious spirit that launched him into Hollywood stardom and the White House. Enjoy tunes along the way from Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter, as well as a new arrangement of music by Christopher Dean and Dougie MacLean, originally made popular in the 1992 movie The Last of the Mohicans.


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Episode 74: Why We Need Robert Burns in 2022

In this episode of Simply Scottish, learn why we need Scottish poet Robert Burns now more than ever before! He's been dead over two centuries but his catchy songs and verse championing liberty, equality, and democracy are alive and well. See how Burns helped to unite Americans during the Civil War and discover three ways he can unite us again in 2022. Hear poetry about Burns and by Burns, along with a great mix of Burns-inspired music from Hamish Napier, Kilmarnock Edition, Brina, and Davy Steele.


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Episode 73: The Scottish Merchant Navy and Radar Technology Pioneer Robert Watson-Watt (Radio Archive #129)

Before it was a podcast, it was a weekly radio show! On this episode of Simply Scottish from our radio archives, hear co-host and co-founder Andrew McDiarmid Sr. teach us about the Scottish merchant navy, as well as share his humorous stories of almost meeting one of Scotland's most famous sons, Sean Connery. Plus, Andrew Jr. on Sir Robert Watson-Watt and his development of radar technology. And as usual, you’ll hear a great mix of Scottish music, old and new: Dougie Maclean, Iona Fyfe, Andy Stewart, and Karen Marshalsay. Cast COVID aside and take a virtual trip to Scotland now!


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Episode 72: Six Degrees of Scotland, pt. 5: The Founding Scots

Episode #72 continues our series exploring Scotland's connections with the world! Although at least a third of the signatories of America's Declaration of Independence were Scots by birth or descent, three in particular deserve mention. This is the story of Charles Thomson, James Wilson, and Thomas Jefferson himself and their uniquely Scottish contribution to the famous document that birthed a nation unlike any other in history, the United States of America. Plus, enjoy inspiring music from Fergus McCreadie, Ainsley Hamill, and Niamh Parsons.