Rab Wilson

Rab Wilson - Composed by John C Grant (https://johncgrant.com). Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Rab Wilson, born on September 1, 1960, in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, stands as a distinguished Scottish poet renowned for his eloquent compositions in the Scots language. His literary repertoire encompasses a Scots translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, alongside the notable poetry volumes “Accent o the Mind,” “Life Sentence,” and “A Map for the Blind.”

Initially apprenticed as an engineer with the National Coal Board at Barony Pit in Ayrshire, Wilson’s trajectory took an unforeseen turn due to the UK miners’ strike (1984–1985), prompting his shift towards a career as a psychiatric nurse.

Beyond his poetic endeavors, Wilson has been a fervent advocate for health-related causes, championing the rights of healthcare professionals to voice their concerns openly and serve as whistleblowers.

In 2012, he engaged with legal professionals at the 4th European Collaborative Conference, showcasing his multidisciplinary engagement.

A notable link to his fellow Ayrshireman and Scottish national poet, Robert Burns, is evident in Wilson’s work. His collaboration on the “Burnsiana” project with Calum Colvin unveiled intriguing parallels between Burns’ “Tam O’ Shanter” and English poet Edmund Bolton’s work.

The year 2013 marked another significant chapter as he became the inaugural James Hogg Creative Resident, residing and crafting his verses in the scenic Ettrick Valley, which once housed the esteemed poet and writer James Hogg.

In 2008, Wilson clinched victory in the prestigious McCash Scots poetry competition, solidifying his prowess.

A touch of humor and spontaneity colored his participation in the Wordsworth Trust Book Festival Burns Night of 2009 when he amusingly “threatened” to behead Conservative politician Kenneth Baker during the traditional address to the haggis.

Fast forward to 2023, Rab Wilson’s poetry took on new life as lyrics, breathing life into the experiences of Ayrshire’s mining communities. The lyrical embodiment found resonance in the musical artistry of Seán Gray, a Glasgow-based talent hailing from Ayrshire. Known for his global contributions to the folk music scene and his association with esteemed groups like the Paul McKenna Band, Gray’s collaboration culminated in a fusion that captivated the international folk community. The embodiment of Rab Wilson’s words in Gray’s musical expression stands as a testament to the timeless connection between art and history, a legacy that perpetuates across diverse artistic mediums.

Rab Wilson - Composed by John C Grant (https://johncgrant.com). Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

A guide track for ‘Rab Wilson’ is available below for listening: -

Rab Wilson
You can download a PDF of the sheet music here - or braille format here.

The track is additionally available within the following collections and sets: -

Associated Collections: -
6/8 Ayrshire Characters Bachelors Club March Politics The Tarbolton Collection The Three Six Five Collection