COUNCILLOR Willie Clarke recently met actor/singer Tayo Aluko who is staying with friends in Crosshill whilst performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in his one man play.

'Call Mr Robeson: A Life, With Songs' is about the singer and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson.

It features some of his songs and speeches and highlights how his radical activism caused him to be shunned in his native USA.

Councillor Clarke is a big fan of the great bass singer, and welcomed Tayo to Fife.

Tayo explained that in 1995 he read Robeson's biography, "and, after further research, I felt the story had to be told, as I can think of no-one who suffered under the infamous McCarthy witch-hunts in America more than Paul Robeson".

Mr Clarke said that the anger and pride Tayo felt, having studied Paul Robeson's life story, gave him the ability to sing from the heart, creating a far greater impression than somebody merely performing a song, and leading to his receiving standing ovations.

He explained that the mining community especially identified strongly with Paul Robeson, and he recalled the Miners' Gala held in May 1960 when Robeson spoke to a massive crowd in Edinburgh and received a fantastic reception.

Miners and their families from across Fife poured in to the capital and enjoyed political speeches as well as fun and games in Holyrood Park.

He fondly recalled marching through the streets to Holyrood Palace and likened the excitement of it all to the storming of the Bastille!

He said, "The march was well managed and stewarded but the people were determined to get close to Paul Robeson and many broke ranks to shake him by the hand - a man who sacrificed his career because of his principles." "I know he has inspired thousands around the planet with his vision of the possibility of a better world" added Tayo. "What the world needs now as much as at any time in the past, is inspiration, and there is no better person than Robeson to inspire and remind us how we as individuals can join the fight for freedom, justice and equality for all." 'Call Mr Robeson: A life, with songs' runs until 30th August at the Zoo Southside (Studio), 117 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9ER. Box office: 0131-662 6892, or for more information visit