Edinburgh Hogmanay’s world-famous fireworks extravaganza is to be choreographed to a score written and designed for the occasion.
For the first time the New Year pyrotechnic display will be fired alongside a musical piece commissioned for the event, organisers have said.
Niteworks – a band from the Isle of Skye which fuses Gaelic language and traditional music with electronica – will work on an ‘epic’ soundscape to accompany the display.
Sound designer Dan Jones and fireworks firm Titanium – which produces the London New Year fireworks set – will come together as a “mighty trio” to deliver a display which has been extended from last year to compete with international destinations.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said: “This is probably one of the most exciting things to happen to fireworks in Edinburgh since the first recorded firework was set off at Edinburgh Castle in 1507.
“Those attending the Street Party, Concert in the Gardens or Ceilidh under the Castle will be treated to an exceptional sound and light spectacle. Niteworks, Dan Jones and Titanium are mighty individually but as a trio they are creating an epic midnight moment for those at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay to enjoy.”
Edinburgh Fringe promoters Underbelly won the contract from Edinburgh City Council to produce the event earlier this year, replacing Unique Events which had been the organiser for 24 years.
The soundtrack to the extended fireworks display, designed by Titanium, will feature several well-loved tracks from Niteworks latest album shaped and developed into a single 9 minute work which evolves with light and shade and progresses to an exciting, epic conclusion. The tracks from NW include Beul na h-Oidhche (Gaelic for the beginning of the night), Coming Down (Anais Mitchell cover), Maraiche (featuring Kathleen MacInnes), and Eilean (Gaelic song about Skye).
Allan MacDonald (the Piper) from Niteworks said: “It really is an honour. We were thrilled to be asked to perform live for the street party, but to be asked to put the music together with Dan for the fireworks has just been something else entirely. We’re a bit lost for words on how to describe this one!”
Talking about the inspiration behind the piece Allan added: “The original brief we got was to try to re-create the sound of Scotland, tomorrow. To do this, we felt it was important to include songs in both Gaelic and in English, and also to have a tune on the pipes for immediately when the bells come in. Straight away we spent a whole day just watching New Year’s Eve fireworks displays from around the world. It’s interesting to see the different styles; London and Melbourne are quite pop and contemporary, whereas Tokyo or Dubai, for example, are more traditional / classic. We’re aiming for a vibe something in-between these styles that people will hopefully enjoy bringing the bells in to.”
Niteworks is playing a live set on the Waverley Stage on the 31st December in a festival line up of bands and musicians making the Street Party the best in the world. Joining Niteworks on the four arena stages are Human League, Huey Morgan, Sacred Paws, Treacherous Orchestra, Mac Twins, and Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 among others. Rag’n’Bone Man, Declan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt play the Concert in the Gardens.
Dan Jones is part of a world-class creative team brought in to work on the event lead by Executive Producer Martin Green (Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and currently the CEO and Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017). Dan’s plans for sound design across the whole Street Party arena will give ticket holders the opportunity to be totally immersed in sound or have time out from it.
Dan said: “I’ve been working with Nitework’s very beautiful music to create even more light and shade and really draw out the drama for Titanium to work with on the visual front. It’s been a fantastic collaboration and they have been very generous. Apart from just loving their music, it is interesting because it can carry things in two different directions – becoming very intimate but also their tunes can carry a symphony orchestra along too which we’ve brought on board, lending it the epic quality we need for such a big occasion. It’s great too to hear Gaelic lyrics and instrumentation. There’s a huge energy in their music.”
Toby Alloway, Director of Titaniumm said: “We’ve been thrilled to work with Underbelly, Dan Jones and Niteworks on the soundtrack for this year’s Hogmanay Fireworks. Edinburgh is a city like no other with a massive overseas influx yet it manages to retain an extraordinary intimacy. The Castle is the most remarkable backdrop to the Hogmanay arena and it cries out all that is Scottish and proud, confident and sure of a place amongst the great capital cities of the world. The soundtrack is the backbone of any pyromusical display; so it’s as critical to get this right as the firework design itself. Getting the music together which ensures a broad range of styles, tempos and dynamics and reflects all of this yet remains accessible has been collaborative privilege.”