The Canons’ Gait

232 Canongate, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland

Twenty-one comments

New Traditional Session in the Royal Mile

A new weekly instrumental session will start at the Canons’ Gait pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Wednesday 22nd February 2012. 9pm-11pm (hours may change later).
All welcome, whatever standard.

Any enquiries, contact Canons’ Gait 0131 556 4481, or Bob Murray 0131 552 1220 (

Well and truly…

The session’s away to a flying start, with seventeen musicians at the first night ! Two hours of tunes !
Others are welcome to come along and join in. If you were looking for a rating, the tunes and speed would probably be called “intermediate”, and we hope to straddle that ground so that session newbies will feel just as comfortable as old hands and even professionals.

Location Map

The map that comes up on these pages is rubbish (sometimes ?). The Canons’ Gait is on The Canongate (part of the Royal Mile) between New Street and Jeffrey Street.
If you follow the map you’ll maybe end up in somebody’s garden……


We’ve now had ten weekly sessions since we started in February, so here’s an update;

We’re normally getting between a dozen and twenty musicians. Cheery and easy-going. An we’re now getting a later pass, so it usually carries on to about 11.15 or 11.20, but maybe even a bit later if the music is unstoppable !

And good feedback from participants; the acoustics and layout are better than some other session pubs - we can all be in one big circle and can all see each other. The pub is also a good beer-drinker’s pub, taking pride in its drinks, and usually has a decent beer available at £2.50 a pint.

Canon’s Gait Session: Highly Recommended

Greetings from Italy to all sessioneers ,
dear fellows, the past week I’ve got a short hollyday with my wife in Edinburgh ( I play flute, and Annalisa sings, folk music, mainly Irish and Sardinian). Before going I’ve contacted Bob Murray wondering if there were in town any good session to attend in. He kindly give me all advice needed and we, on the wednsday, went to the Canon’s Gait. This are my feelings about:
It was a great time. People is friendly and asks for your music . There were , I think, twelve musicians: accordion, flutes, tin whistle, fiddle, mandolin, guitars. Singing was encouraged.
The pace is relaxed, no extrafast reels and no noising bodhran and spoon, we had a large space in the pub, and I’ve enjoied a couple of great scottish ales. The repertoire is mainly from scotland but many musicians there know and play good Irish standards.
Vote: ***** five stars. Do not miss it.

Summer Holidays 2013

There will be no Wednesday sessions at the Canons’ Gait during the month of August (i.e. 7.8.13 to 28.8.13 inclusive). This is because the pub is a Festival venue (free shows !). We’ll be back to normal after that, and looking forward to our Oxjam events in October.

Summer Holidays - details

The Canons’ Gait will be open for business, but doing Festival stuff, so still worth a visit, but not for sessions.
For the four Wednesdays in August we have a temporary home for our session at “The Brig” (better known as the “Cramond Brig”) which is on your right as you drive out of Edinburgh on the A90 (Queensferry Road, after Barnton).
We’ll be starting a bit earlier, at 8.30pm, but have to finish by 11.
Back to normal at the Canons’ Gait on Wednesday 4 September.

No sessions in August

Change of plans.
Our temporary home at “The Brig” didn’t work out. We had one night there, which was fine, but the arrangements made by the managers were overruled by the owner. He’d rather we were charged £100 per night for the room ! In the absence of any other suitable venue, we will next meet on Wednesday 4 September back at The Canons’ Gait.
Sorry for any confusion.

Megasesh (part of Oxjam Music Festival)

We’re delighted now to announce details of this special event;
Megasesh will be a monster session - we normally have twenty or so at our weekly Wednesday sessions, and will not be surprised if we double that.
Plus there will be a raffle, buffet, etc.
<><><><> Wednesday 23 October 2013, 9pm to 11.45pm at the Canons’ Gait Bar. <><><><> See our event website at <><><><>
Plus we’ll have three special guests performing on the night - Sandy Brechin, Charlie Munro, and Bella Hardy.
Tickets are £10 each, available at the Wednesday sessions 25th September, 2nd, 9th, and 16th October), and at the door (if any remaining). The event is being run at zero cost (bar giving free use of venue, and food, and raffle prizes, special guests are volunteers) so every pound raised will be going to Oxfam for their valuable work.

Bob Murray is also holding two wee solo gigs (plus support) in the downstairs bar on Monday 28 October and
Thursday 31 October 2013. Tickets are just £5 each, with all money again going to Oxfam.

Oxjam at The Canons’ Gait

Well done everybody !
All loose ends are now tied for Oxjam, and we can be very pleased with the final outcome of £1,243.81
There’s now a web page with a selection of photos at
Thanks to all of you who helped in any way large or small. The target was to “save lives and change lives”, and the money Oxfam will get from our events will certainly do that.
Cheers !
ps; there’s also stuff on Facebook at and photos by Rodger Shearer of my own Thursday gig at

sessions with no bodhran

Sad to read ROSARIO‘S comments about the canons gait session not having any ’noising bodhrans’ .
The bodhran played well will only add pulse drive and direction to any session and has added positively to traditional music over the past 15 years in particular as the drums have become more tunable and teaching more technical regarding subtle rhythms etc.
I hope some bodhran players are encouraged to play there and im sure it will only add to the attraction.

Re: Sessions with no bodhran

Hi John,
We normally have a big session, and there’s room for every instrument to come along and join in. We have rarely had a bodhran, but that’s not because they have ever been discouraged. We happily allow one of our regular fiddlers to play the spoons now and again, so we’re obviously open-minded !
I remember Rosario being along, and he was a friendly and balanced individual . . . . I’m sure his comment about “no noising bodhrans” (which is better English than my Italian would be) means nothing that was noisily disruptive. Bodhrans sometimes get a bad press, but that is down to that small number of players who don’t play sypathetically with the other musicians; and that can go for any instrument that can put out a noticeable sound (e.g. banjos and washboards).
We’d be very happy to have a bodhran as part of our mix, whether visiting or as a regular.

Noising bodhrans

I go to this session occasionally and if so may have my noising bodhran with me, but will not bash my way through all and sundry. If they are playing reels too fast for me to keep up on my accordion that’s when the bodhran comes out! On that, I can beat the fiddlers at their own game!

A Fine Session

I was in Edinburgh for a few days and dropped in to the session. About 20 musicians - about half fiddles, but some whistles, and a couple of guitars. I had my whistle and was made to feel very welcome.

Edinburgh Festival 2015

It’s our annual session holiday !
The Canons’ Gait Bar turns itself into a Festival Fringe venue for most of August, hosting various free comedy shows, and becomes awfully busy and noisy. So we have no sessions on 12th, 19th, and 26th August, but will be esconced again on Wednesday 2nd September.

Traditional Song and Tunes Session

Informal gathering normally on the second Sunday of each month from 3-6pm in the cellar bar at the Canons’ Gait, 232 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DQ. Songs and tunes session. All very welcome to come to sing, play or listen. Dates and time might vary, so please check before travelling (updates on Facebook page).
This is the same session that has, over the years, had its home at The Wally Dug, Ryrie’s, and the St. Bernard’s Bar.
Almost entirely singers, we don’t mind a wee bit of instrumental here and there. Although it says “traditional” in the title, anything goes.
Buy your drinks in the main street-level bar before making your way downstairs.
Facebook group at

Two Different Sessions with Different Schedules

Every Wednesday evening 9pm-11pm (or so); Instrumental session, all abilities welcome, mainly Scottish traditional, plus Irish, English, a wee bit Scandinavian sometimes, etc. Sometimes even a song or two. Main bar area on ground floor.
Facebook group for any updates.

Second Sunday of each month (dates and times may vary) 3pm-6pm; “Traditional Song and Tunes Session”. Often traditional, almost entirely singing, but many other styles happen. Cellar bar, down the stairs.
Facebook group at for any updates.

Festival Time Again !

It’s our annual session holidays !
The Canons’ Gait Bar turns itself into a Festival Fringe venue for most of August, hosting various free comedy shows, and becomes awfully busy and noisy. So we have no sessions at all during August. (See )
The weekly Wednesday session (mainly instrumental) will get back in its stride from Wednesday 7th September at 9pm.
The monthly Sunday afternoon session (mainly songs) will be on Sunday 11th September, 3-6pm.

Re: Canons’ Gait

The Canons’ Gait pub has been closed for building work for some time, and of course, life has also been restricted by Covid. During this period, weekly tunes sessions have continued on Skype, hosted by Bob Murray, with over a hundred taken place to date! These are on Wednesday evenings from 8pm - 10pm. We have recently had a couple of live sessions in other venues and with strictly limited numbers.
To receive the Skype link for sessions, contact Bob Murray via Facebook, Messenger or a message here.
It’s the same scenario for the Edinburgh Song Session as described above: also on Skype, hosted by Bob, on the 2nd Sunday of each month, from 3pm - 5pm.

Re: Canons’ Gait

After two-and-a-half years of Covid (and pub rebuilding) closure, we’re delighted to be back to open sessions.
THE WEEKLY WEDNESDAY INSTRUMENTAL SESSION starts again on Wednesday 5th October, 9pm to 11pm or so. Usually quite a big crowd (seldom under 10, often 15/20+) of mixed instruments. Standard probably “intermediate” but we welcome anybody, and try to be inclusive to people new to the scene.
THE MONTHLY SUNDAY “EDINBURGH SONG SESSION” is normally the second Sunday of each month (next one is Sunday 9th October). It runs from 3pm to 6pm in the mezzanine level off the main bar area. Mainly Scottish traditional/folky material, but we’re very open-minded to other cultures and other genres. We also quite like it when we get the occasional instrumental tune, or some verses, or a wee tale. Confirmation of dates by checking our Facebook page, or by getting onto our email list.