The Late John Wright & Diwali

I don’t know how many of you have ever heard of the Late John Wright, or heard his rendition of “Caledonia”.

It’s a pity that I discovered him after his death. His is a voice, for which I would cheerfully have cobbled together the money to travel to England, to hear in person. This is a version I have listened to, almost one hundred times in the last month, and never tire of it. It almost always brings tears to my eyes, and this is rare.

Listen to this song before you read on. Listen to the feeling, the emotion, and you will know what I mean. It is truly magnificent.

The song is indeed about Caledonia, yet at a larger level, it is a song about going home, and the love that a person has for his, or her, home or country.

Diwali, while it is a festival of lights, is also all about homecoming. This is when the town of Ayodhya was lit up to celebrate the homecoming of Ram and his wife, Sita, and brother Lakshman, after fourteen years in exile.

This is one reason why we always try to be at home on Diwali. It is about homecoming.

Yet, in India, and I am sure, in many parts of the world, there is a dark side to it.

There is a justifiable debate ongoing these days, about the use of firecrackers and their impact on the environment.

However, we do often forget about those who don’t have either a home or a name. A subset of the homeless who die on the streets every year, is a group of those who also die nameless.

What do they dream of, or think of, when they sit alone on the streets, as the fire crackers go off?

Diwali is all about homecoming. It is about your love for your home.

Those who are on the streets, homeless, dream – I am sure – of the homes they once had, or desire.

Or, their minds are just blank.



  1. Thanks for the link to John Wright’s terrific rendition of Caledonia. I then spent an hour on Youtube before getting back to your post! Wright was English but lived in Scotland for a long time and sang a lot of the old Scottish ballads. He must have performed in the Netherlands a lot, too, because half of the verses in this song are in Dutch and he is singing about Friesland in these verses, not Scotland! Caledonia was written by Dougie Maclean in the ’70s and many people have recorded it since. It became famous when Frankie Miller sang it in a Tennent’s beer television commercial in 1991. My Youtube trip this evening also included John Wright’s beautiful rendition of one of Willie Nelson’s most famous songs, Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground. Happy Diwali, Rajiv!

    1. In fact I came across the song ‘Caledonia’, when I heard Dougie Maclean sing it. I have Dougie’s version as well, and it was love at first listening. Then, I came across several versions, including one by a group called Scrum. And, finally, I heard this one by John Wright.
      Yes, I have heard a lot of John Wright on YouTube recently, and am considering buying one of his albums. He was, it seems, well known in the European folk circuit, so he may as well have performed a lot in the NL

      I am glad you like this version.

      Recently, I discovered another superb Scottish group called Runrig, and concluded that I must have been Scottish in my last life!

  2. Its very haunting and rather beautiful. thank you. A true find. Happy Diwali to you
    A wonderful way of looking at things – Homecoming – Homes – Family. All good!

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