Watch: Leith's Banana Flats belts out Sunshine on Leith in show of support for nation's key workers

Leithers united in song to lift community spirits
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A Leith woman wants Scots to come together in a musical message of solidarity to the nation’s key workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Mum-of-two Kirsty Crosbie helped host a mass singalong on Friday evening at the Banana Flats in Leith.

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Hot on the heels of efforts attempted earlier in the week, Kirsty blasted out The Proclaimers hit Sunshine on Leith from opposite the flats at 8pm sharp.

Kirsty Crosbie (inset) helped host a singalong of Sunshine on Leith at the Banana Flats.Kirsty Crosbie (inset) helped host a singalong of Sunshine on Leith at the Banana Flats.
Kirsty Crosbie (inset) helped host a singalong of Sunshine on Leith at the Banana Flats.

Footage of the singalong taken by a local restaurateur showed dozens of defiant residents belting out the famous song together.

Speaking to the Evening News, Kirsty said it emulates scenes from virus-hit Italy, where locked down locals have been releasing the tension by performing from their balconies.

Sparked by members of the Facebook group United Colour of Leith, locals began mass singalongs inspired by their Italian counterparts earlier in the week, with the results going viral across the country.

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Dedicated to the “unsung heroes, hospital workers, cleaners, supermarket workers, transport and distribution workers and care workers” and led by lifelong Leither Tommy MacMartin, a team of around thirty to forty people were involved in making the Banana Flats singalong a reality.

“It’s a tribute to frontline staff and organised spontaneously by the people of Leith,” Tommy explained to the Evening News.

“It quickly snowballed from a few comments.”

Now Kirsty says the plan is to take the idea all over Edinburgh and even Scotland in a bid to pay tribute to key workers and maintain community spirit everywhere during the Covid-19 epidemic.

She said: “We are trying to imitate what Italy’s been doing; creating a stir and bringing people together, while also remembering the NHS staff who are still out working during the outbreak.

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"The response has been amazing. It started off with Sunshine on Leith, but we now have a playlist of cheerful, Scots songs.

"The whole of the Banana Flats was out last night, cheering and people were out on the streets dancing and singing - but keeping their distance, obviously."

Henderson Street resident Kirsty, 40, says her brother convinced her to get involved in the singalongs and set up a PA opposite Cables Wynd House, which is famously dubbed the “Banana Flats” on account of the building’s curved shape.

And it's this architectural quirk that makes the location perfect for such an event, says Kirsty.

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“The sound just echoes right off because of the way the flats are shaped,” she explained. "People could hear the music from streets away."

Footage of Friday’s singalong was shared on social media and has been viewed more than half a million times.

It was taken by Borough resaurant owner Aleksandra Murray, who arrived home on Friday and began filming the commotion from the window of her flat.

The restaurateur, who, like thousands of other UK business owners, has been forced to close their premises for the time being, said the singalong was very welcome in "very scary and very stressful" times.

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She said: "It was really nice that it has touched people's hearts and made people cry. The way the footage has gone viral was not expected at all."

Aleksandra admitted she and her husband face uncertainty now that they have had to close their Henderson Street restaurant.

"Myself and my husband are trying to stay positive. Hopefully the government can provide us with some help.

"We are planning to try a small pop-up venture and try and keep the cash flowing."

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Kirsty Crosbie has promised a repeat performance the Sunshine on Leith singalong at 8pm on Saturday night, with additional songs that she believes will resonate with Leithers, including Caledonia by Dougie MacLean and Iggy Pop's Lust For Life.

She added "We're thinking to take it to other areas in Edinburgh and get the whole city involved, then hopefully the whole of Scotland will follow suit.

"It's important to share the message that, although we're all locked in our houses, we're all still there for each other."

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