About | Billy Kay | Odyssey Productions


Scots the Mither Tongue            Audible

Scottish World                      Celtic Connections Feb 5

Dates for the Diary                    March 17, 30

Joâo Kay Interview            TNT show Youtube

Indymatters                                  Youtube


As from November 16th, 2021 Scots The Mither Tongue is available as an Audiobook on Audible UK :   https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B09LXPTTFY


And Audible in the USA:



SCOTS: THE MITHER TONGUE   by Billy Kay           Scots Promo

Ower monie's the lang year, fowk hae spierit at Billy Kay whit wey he hadnae gotten roond tae record a soond version o the quair he's kent best for – Scots The Mither Tongue?  His repone wis aye the same: "Kennin the wark that gaes intae recordin a seiven meinute script for the radio, I wis aye awaur o whit an undeemous darg it wad be tae dae a guid recordin o a book that's nearhaun eicht oor lang." Houaniver, like a wheen ither things, the muckle scunner o Covid cheinged things wi the lockdoon garin us aw bide langer at hame an finnd projecks that we cuid dae fae hame. "Noo's the day an noo's the oor" thocht Billy an breenged intae pittin a hame studio thegither an stertin oot on the lang awaited projeck in Januar 2021.

It's noo duin, an he's vauntie aboot recordin aw the braw Scots passages that gie the quair its virr an smeddum – fae the aureate scrievin o the medieval makars in the past tae the orra street wice vyces o the urban workin clesses the day, fae the kenspeckle figures o the vernacular revival, Ramsay, Burns an Fergusson, tae the skeely prose warks o Scott an Stevenson. The chapters on the dialecks o Scots shaws variations in the leid fae aw the airts whaur fowk hae a guid Scots tongue in their mooths, fae Shetland tae Ulster wi stravaigs in the Doric hairtlands an the kintrae that gied us the Border ballads. There's humour galore as weel wi Billy recordin for posterity a story he got in the auld BBC biggin in Glesga lang syne, when a rammy atween twa cleaners there endit wi the puit doon, "Whit'll you dae for a face when King Kong asks for his erse back?"  Fae the patter o Glesga tae the spik o the land, it's aw there.

As a native Scots speaker fae Ayrshire wha studied the leid an its literature at Embro University, there's nae better bodie tae bring this classic quair alive for a new audience. Billy threaped "Wi the interest in Scots warld wide noo, the audio book will help full a tuim void in fowk ayont Scotland's kennin o the leid an hou it shuid be pronoonced."  It will gie fowk a richer experience gin they hae the audio version an the text afore thaim as weel. Wha kens, mebbe it will stairt a Scots revival in a wheen fremmit airts discoverin the soonds o Scots for the verra first time.

 SCOTS: THE MITHER TONGUE   Audiobook by Billy Kay    English Promo

Over many years, people have asked Billy Kay why he had not recorded an audio version of this classic book.  Knowing what a huge undertaking it would be, he always cited time and other commitments as the main reasons. The Covid lockdown changed everything, so he finally decided to commit himself to making the historic recording. Historic? Yes, because it will be the first time that iconic passages from the great Scots literary tradition have been recorded and made available in the one place. For most people it will be the first time they have heard the work of writers from Barbour's Brus to RL Stevenson's Thrawn Janet  read out loud by someone steeped in that tradition, who has a deep knowledge of Scots as both a living and a literary language. The combination is powerful with memorable moments from e.g. MacDiarmid and the Border Ballads, from Burns only letter in Scots and from rich examples of every Scots dialect from Shetland to Ulster via the Doric heartlands of the North East.  Scots and Scottish literature enjoy a global following, but outwith Scotland few people know how the language sounds, so this will fill a big gap in those people's knowledge and appreciation of a great tradition.


As a presenter of countless series of award winning documentaries on radio and television over the years, Billy has built up a substantial following for his work and recognition for his distinctive take on Scottish history and culture. This is Rachel McCormack's description of Billy's voice from her book Chasing the Dram. "It's a deep, low, warm, authoritative voice, like an old sherried single cask malt. It's a voice that when broadcast over the airwaves on Radio Scotland, the fish in the deepest waters near Ullapool recognise as Billy Kay. If God ever chose to reveal himself to mortals at the top of a Scottish mountain his best chance of convincing atheists of his existence would be to use Billy Kay's voice"

 The Scottish World      Celtic Connections    February 5th 2022

 The Mitchell Theatre In Glasgow will be the venue for a celebration in story and song of the Scottish World. I will be joined by three of  Scotland's finest traditional singers Robyn Stapleton, Siobhan Miller and Paul McKenna and a great band of musicians with Innes Watson, Robbie Greig, Colin McDonagh and Alistair Paterson. 


 An evening of music, poetry, story and song celebrating the Scottish diaspora and its influence all over the world. Among the highlights which captivated a sell-out audience in the Spiegeltent at the Edinburgh International Book Festival were:  the French romantic love song with a Scottish setting, "Garçon Malheureux"; the hymn "Alteren's Sacrament" by 17th century Norwegian poet Petter Dass, son of Peter Dundas from Dundee, translated back into Dass's ither mither tongue, Scots, by Kay; the  North East song from the Peninsular War, "The Forfar Sojer"; songs of exile like "The Sun Rises Bright in France" and the Scots Canadian classic written by a Borders shepherd, "The Scarboro Settlers Lament."   


Dates for the Diary

 More details to follow but I will be giving talks in Edinburgh on March 17, and in Dundee on March 30th – the latter at Dundee Burns Club.

 TNT Show on Indylive  Joâo interviewed by John Drummond

 I am so proud of my beautiful wife and her brilliant expression of the Scottish cause on The Nation Talks.  Wonderful too to hear her quote from the poem by Pessoa at the end which is so relevant to where Scotland stands politically just now.

 Watch it here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i14oGJKBFtU


 Anyone in search of my programmes when they are no longer available on BBC Sounds, should head over to the Youtube channel Indymatters. They have uploaded a number of my archive series, so you might well find what you are looking for there: