Craig on the Cliff

Aug 9 2019 | By More

★★★★☆  Welcoming

Randolph Cliff (Venue 285): Fri 2 – Sun 25 Aug 2019
Review by Hugh Simpson

Craig on the Cliff, featuring folk singer Craig Herbertson at Randolph Cliff, is an unassuming but thoroughly accomplished affair that draws on Edinburgh and Scotland’s past in word and song.

Craig Herbertson may not be as well known in his native Edinburgh as he deserves – and indeed is better known in Germany. However, he retains a deep love and interest for Scotland and some of its most noteworthy products such as whisky and Robert Burns, both of which feature heavily in this show.

Craig Herbertson

Authoritative versions of Burns and traditional songs are mixed in with Herbertson’s own compositions touching on Scottish history and folklore, all delivered with a rich, warm voice and accompanied by sympathetic guitar accompaniment.

Like many who work in the folk tradition (although his interests and activities range much more widely) his concern for honouring those who have gone before means that he is a storyteller through song as much as he is in the spoken sections in between. There is also an inescapable romantic melancholy about the material, echoed by an inviting delivery.

As any true folk musician should, he puts his voice and instrument at the service of the material rather than the other way around. The connection with his audience is all the greater as a result.

highly effective

The authority that informs the performance is crystallised by the performance of the Burns classic Song Composed in Autumn. Better known as Now Westlin Winds, its version by Dick Gaughan has become so definitive that versions by other performers pale into insignificance. However, believing – rightly – that such a song deserves to be heard as widely as possible, Herbertson has created his own arrangement that is highly effective and stands on its own.

There is a diffidence about the whole enterprise that, hidden in an apparently unfinished but extremely impressive West End venue, could go unnoticed, and it must be admitted that the audience for this particular performance was very small indeed.

There is no doubt, however, that Herbertson deserves a far bigger audience. For anyone interested in Scottish song or heritage, this is an ideal early evening show.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
Randolph Cliff(Venue 285);4 Randolph Cliff, EH9 7TZ
Friday 2 – Sunday 25 August 2019
Daily (not Mon or Tues) at 5.00 pm
Tickets and details:

Facebook: @craigherbertson
Twitter: @craigherbertson


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Comments (5)

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  1. Andrea Müller says:

    We always enjoy Craig Herbertson’s Shows with the Songs and the Storys. That makes it special. Together with the fantastic voice, you can hear it every day.

  2. Michaela Kompernaß says:

    We spent two delightful evenings on the Cliff with Craig who understands to enchant his audience with his compositions as well as storytelling. Although we visited shows on two consecutive evenings, he never ceased to breathe new life into each composition. His passion is heartwarming.

  3. Christie Woods says:

    A wonderful gentle performance. Craig’s own songs complementing Burns songs and poems beautifully.

  4. Tony Mitchell says:

    A genuine authentic celebration of Celtic culture performed by a Celt and native of Edinburgh. If you have travelled far to experience Scotland and it’s culture, there is no better place to be.