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Fare Well is Edinburgh's Hogmanay's innovative response on how to close the door on 2020 and celebrate the start of 2021, melding together two of the world's oldest art-forms, poetry and music with one of the world’s newest technologies, drones, to create one of the world’s most creative, imaginative and inspiring new year celebrations of 2021.
Produced by Underbelly, Fare Well is Edinburgh's Hogmanay's commission of the Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, to write a three part poem for Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2020, which, working with Drone show pioneers, Celestial, underlies a show of 150 drones to form images created by Scottish illustrator, Gary Wilson, to a musical score from Skye-based Celtic fusion band, Niteworks. The films are voiced by Scottish actors including David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh, Jackie's poem and the drone displays reflect on the 'scunnered year' of 2020 and look to 2021 with hope on the Scottish air.
Fare Well, Part One, The Past, which opens in the Scottish Highlands and closes above the Forth Rail Bridge, takes inspiration from what we've been able to do and not do during 2020: the funerals and weddings cancelled and our collective griefs and despairs. Jackie writes about the way that the air carries music, chants, hymns and the virus; but, despite the trauma of the months gone by, we can and must still hope: hope for the future, hope for a new year and hope for each other.
"This air has heather and malt on its breath
as it sighs, puffed oot after a year of death,
under the blue mask of its flag. The Saltire’s
been a warning cross. Dinny come too near. "
Fare Well, Part Two, The Present, turns to look at us today and to give thanks for the many acts of community and kindness displayed by so many across the country. Jackie reflects on the goodness of the human spirit and our sense of togetherness that has emerged in 2020.
Part Two includes images of “WE” in the skies above Edinburgh – a message from Scotland of universality and commonality – with “WE” translated into many languages including French, Gaelic, Arabic, Greek, Korean, Mandarin and Thai.
"And folk sing the wurld over
blending the atmosphere;
music reaching oot to bless the air,
and now we ken oor neighbours’ names."
The final instalment of Fare Well sends a message of hope for 2021!
After Parts One and Two of Fare Well, Part Three, The Future, looks to 2021 with optimism. Taking inspiration from a poem by Robert Burns (Sketch New Year's Day), Jackie echoes Burns’ question about the night of Hogmanay and asks what did ‘yesternight deliver’ and like Burns, finds that there is hope and that it is found in nature: we need only look up at the skies and we find hope.
Joining David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen to voice Part Three, are Miren (aged 9 from Glasgow) and Heather (aged 18 from Glasgow).
"We share the planet’s air. What’s yours is mine…
There ur seeds on the air which wull be trees.
Choreography on the air, danced by bees.
There's auld licht made braw by a billion stars"
"We say Wha’s like us, singing Auld Lang’s Syne.
We share the planet’s air. What’s yours is mine."