Performing at New York Tartan Week has to be one of the most exciting and newsworthy events in my musical journey so far.
A young song writer from Paisley with a bunch of songs written from age 14 to 16 really didn’t expect to be invited by the American Scottish Foundation to represent Scottish youth music in the Year of Young People 2018. After a few emails over a number of months with the American Scottish Foundation, I suddenly found myself planning hotels and flights to get myself to New York for 6thto 10th April 2018, with several performances and a collaboration with established Scottish musicians Hannah Reid and Craig Weir planned.
The trip was a great adventure for  me and everything I had hoped for and more. The parade was led by KT Tunstall this year but unfortunately after a day of performing, jet lag caused me to rain off the after-party where we could have met. However, I made lots of other connections and met some wonderful people.  I also discovered that I really enjoyed singing well known Scottish songs, such as Caledonia, as they get such a great reaction from the crowd.
There were three performance highlights. Firstly, on day one in Bryant Park, where I sang Flower of Scotland with Hannah and Craig on guitar and bag pipes to locals, tourists and VIPs.  Representatives of the Scottish Government office in America were there and tweeted the following about my performance:
“From busking on Paisley High Street to singing in Bryant Park on #TartanDay, 18 year old Lisa Kowalski doing Scotland’s youth proud”.
On the day of the Parade itself, I had been told I was singing on a bus which I should pick up at a hotel and should have prepared a few well known songs to sing with backing tracks. Needless to say, I was blown away when I realised my stage for the next hour or two was an open top tour bus parked outside Radio City on 6th avenue with mics and speakers, shared only with the parade MC and a couple of journalists. After my performance I then got to watch the parade from our birds eye view, waving at the clans and the Scottish pipers and dancers, the Scottish dog breeds, businesses and Universities and even the roaring Shetland Vikings like we were the VIPs!
My final performance was back at Bryant Park where I was honoured to perform alongside the Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band from the Island of Benbecula , after their incredible effort to raise £40,000 to get the youth band and their instruments to New York.  Eilidh MacLeod, who was tragically killed during the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, had been part of the Band and I sang One Last Time in her memory.  The Forest Legion Pipe Band from Canada also shared the Bryant Park plaza with me and invited me to perform at the Fergus Highland Games in Ontario next year.  Tartan Week will be a very hard act to follow but that’s a trip that might just match it!
All in all, it was a wonderful experience, with friends, connections and wonderful memories made.

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