Edinburgh’s Hogmanay fireworks will be choreographed to a specially commissioned score for the first time – created by an electronica band from the Isle of Skye.
Niteworks, who have wowed crowds around Scotland with their fusion of club beats, traditional instruments and Gaelic song, have been commissioned to come up with a nine-minute sequence to be matched to pyrotechnics.
The band, who cite Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and Radiohead as major influences, will have their music broadcast throughout the entire Hogmanay street party arena to more than 75,000 revellers.
Niteworks, who have already been confirmed to perform live at the event, are working with an award-winning film composer and sound designer, Dan Jones, and the event’s long-time pyrotechnicians, Titanium, on what organisers pledge will be an “epic soundscape”.
The band, formed by a group of high school friends on Skye in 2008, has won the commission ahead of an appearance at the Hydro in Glasgow in January with the Skye-born stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill as part of the Celtic Connections festival.
The group will be deploying excerpts from several tracks from their debut album, including two Gaelic songs, “Maraiche” and “Eilean”, sung by Kathleen MacInnes and Deirdre Graham.
It emerged earlier this year that Edinburgh would have a specially-extended fireworks display this year – running for an extra three minutes – as part of a bid by new organisers to “reboot” the city’s festivities to help step up competition with rival displays in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and New York.
A carnival-style street party, which will get the festivities underway two hours earlier than previously, will feature street performers, dancers, acrobats and fire-eaters.
Allan MacDonald, piper with Niteworks, said: “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.
“The original brief we got was to try to recreate the sound of Scotland, tomorrow. 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 are more traditional and classic. We’re aiming for a vibe something in-between these styles that people will hopefully enjoy bringing the bells in to.”
Jones said: “I’ve been working with Niteworks’ 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’ve been very generous. There’s a huge energy in their music.”
Toby Alloway, director of Titanium, said: “Edinburgh is a city like no other with a massive overseas influx yet it manages to retain an extraordinary intimacy.
“The soundtrack is the backbone of any pyromusical display, so it’s as critical to get this right as the fireworks design itself.”