City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Scot:Lands - Edinburgh's Hogmanay Festival, 1st January 2016

By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 03 January 2016

St. Giles Cathedral - Blue Skye:Land in Scot:Lands New Year Arts Festival (photo credit, Ken Scott)

Scot:Lands, the popular mini pop-up arts and cultural programme of free, ticketed events was staged again on New Year’s Day to conclude Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival.

The innovative selection of music (traditional, folk, ethnic and electronic pop), songs, stories, film and dance created a Celtic moveable feast of entertainment. Ten diverse events performed in churches and arts venues around the Old Town were designed as an inspiring journey, to experience a taste of regional arts and culture.

After check in at the Home:Land Departure Lounge, Old College Quad, a spinning compass sends you off to a random destination, D’Arc:Land or Licht:Land, .. and from there on again to Lyrical:Land, Blazin’:Land … for a different cultural adventure.

St. Giles Cathedral had been transformed into Blue Skye:Land, where a huge crowd gathered to listen to (rather than actually see, due to poor sight lines), an eclectic selection of Gaelic Songs, Indian Raga and Electronica, a concert presented by Atlas Arts of Skye.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, Cine:Land, was a rolling programme of Shorts, Animation, Documentaries screened around the studios at Dance Base, Grassmarket as a Multiplex cinema.

Pictures I: Scottish Fiction presented 7 mini movies, such as the quirky Monty Python-styled tale, “The Ambitious Potato” about mundane office life until the arrival of a new team player. “Sweetie” is a snapshot of a dysfunctional family after a day out, waiting for the bus home; in just ten minutes, this satirical black comedy packs a punch.

We could have stayed in Cine:Land to see a couple more Shorts but time to travel onwards to our next region of Scot:land.

Down the Royal Mile we spotted a solo Street Theatre performance – a bowler-hatted violinist playing a soulful tune, while walking across a Tightope about 20 feet above the cobbled street. The Fringe has come early to Edinburgh this year!

At the Storytelling Centre was the magical world of Licht:Land with Malinky and the Sokobauno Puppet Theatre attracting a long queue of parents and their excited children.

We wandered off again, heading down to the calm ambience of Old St. Paul’s Church, warm and welcoming with a fragrant scent of incense. Cabaret-style, the audience sat at white draped, candle-lit tables, decorated with large stones and feathers. We had arrived at Sea Bird:Land.

Created by Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion this was a multimedia work, “Tumadh is Turas, Immersion & Journey.” A live performance by the Aidan O’Rourke Trio provided the atmospheric soundtrack to two beautifully shot nature documentaries: the windswept landscape and craggy Stacs of St Kilda surrounded by wild stormy sea, and a colony of cliff-top seabirds during the breeding season.

The artistic photography, video, sound effects, complemented by the moody, dramatic tidal flow of music was an enriching, enchanting meditative escape on the first day of a new year.

Also as part of Scot:Lands, Wee Scotland was a show of storytelling, arts and music for young children at the National Museum of Scotland. Here in the Grand Hall was The Final Fling, a Ceilidh for all to join in and end the Festival with a lively, energetic flourish.