Hogmanay arts fest to celebrate the multicultural face of modern Scotland

Young Fathers. Picture: John Devlin

Young Fathers. Picture: John Devlin

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THE issue of migration is to take centre stage during Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival – to celebrate culture drawn from all over the world.

Performers with roots in Africa, Latin America, Spain, India and eastern Europe will get high-profile slots during a pop-up arts festival on New Year’s Day.

Alloysious Massqoui, frontman of hip hop outfit Young Fathers, who moved from Liberia to Edinburgh when he was four years old, will be among the performers at the four-hour event.

Organisers say the celebration of the “New Scots” is aimed at raising awareness of the “rich diversity of culture and talent in contemporary Scotland.”

Seven different acts – including Samba Sene, Benny Tetteh-Lartey, Dance Ihayami and Sankofa Beats – will be showcased during the annual Scot:Lands event, which sees thousands of revellers explore historic Old Town buildings.

Celebrations of two of Scotland’s greatest bards, Raasay-born Sorley Maclean and Paisley’s “weaver poet” Robert Tannahill, the Wigtown Book Festival and 900 years of St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney will also be held.

Flint & Pitch and Neu! Reekie! – two of Edinburgh’s leading promoters of cabaret, music and spoken word events – are helping to programme Scot:Lands, which will feature singers Eddi Reader and James Grant, Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, Gaelic rapper Ghetto Croft, beat boxer Jason Singh and break dance outfit Prime.

Music and song from across the Highlands will be brought to life as part of a 30th anniversary celebration of Feis Ross, which has helped thousands of young people learn traditional art forms.

Pete Irvine, creative director of Scot:Lands, said: “We all talk about migrants and refugees. We can see on a daily basis the effects of what is happening in the Middle East.

“We want to make a statement that the ‘New Scots’ make a contribution, not just to our economy, but also to our culture. We want to show that it is a very positive thing that people arrive in Scotland and make their home here.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “In Scotland, we are modern, progressive outward-looking internationalists and we are also inclusive. We want to make sure everybody who lives here and contributes gets the opportunity to thrive and flourish.

“When people come and make their base here they realise we have a strong cultural scene that creates conditions for excellence, and allows them to embrace their own cultures and exercise their own ingenuity.”

Free tickets can be pre-booked in advance for Scot:Lands, which is funded to the tune of £200,000 by the Scottish Government. The National Museum of Scotland will be open until 7pm for an all-ticket “Final Fling” ceilidh dance for up to 1000 people.