News

Listen

For Auld Lang Syne

30/12/2008

It has featured in many Hollywood blockbusters such Sex and the City, When Harry Met Sally, and several Frank Capra films including It's a Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

It will be sung by millions of revellers across the world tomorrow, and this year Auld Lang Syne will also herald Scotland's Year of Homecoming.

Robert Burns' iconic Scottish and international anthem is one of the world's most recognised songs and is one of Scotland's greatest cultural exports, First Minister Alex Salmond said today ahead of Hogmanay celebrations.

"Millions of people across the world will bring in the bells tomorrow evening to the sound of Burns' most famous piece of work, Auld Lang Syne.

"Written in 1788, this iconic Scottish and international anthem continues to have a huge impact on popular culture as one of the world's most recognised and performed songs. It is woven into celebrations and cultural events right across the planet. And this year - the 250th anniversary of the birth of its writer Robert Burns - the world will have a wonderful reminder of its Scottish roots.

"Auld Lang Syne has featured in many Hollywood films such as Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Sex and the City, and When Harry Met Sally! It has been reworked by James Brown, Tom Waits and Morrissey, and tomorrow evening it will herald Scotland's Year of Homecoming.

"Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland's greatest cultural exports, and it is entirely appropriate that this anthem will herald the start of Homecoming 2009.

Homecoming Scotland 2009

"Homecoming 2009 will celebrate Scotland's great contributions to the world: Burns, Whisky, Golf, great Scottish minds and innovation as well as our rich ancestry and culture. I hope that people worldwide who enjoy Burns' most famous work will be inspired to join us in 2009 for what will be the biggest celebration of Scotland yet."

This year's Hogmanay will herald the start of Scotland's year of Homecoming and, to celebrate, more than 100,000 revellers on Edinburgh's Princes Street and across Scotland will lead the world in a mass rendition of one of the most famous songs on the planet: Auld Lang Syne. But, while we Scots tune up to sing it the way Robert Burns intended, the rest of the world will probably be putting their own stamp on the Bard's iconic tune.

EventScotland, the national events agency, has commissioned a video of the famous song to lead the singing across Scotland at the stroke of midnight on the 1st of January 2009. Leslie Hills at Skyline Productions will be producing the video.

She said: "Scotland's Hogmanay is a truly global attraction and people will be coming from around the world to celebrate the start of the Homecoming year in Scotland's capital city. Auld Lang Syne is one of the world's most recognised songs so the planned mass-rendition will appeal to visitors and locals alike and, while many countries have their own special twist on the song, the tune is universal."

AULD LANG SYNE - THE STORY SO FAR

  • Written in 1788 by Robert Burns and sung to a traditional Scottish folk melody, the song's title literally means 'old long since', but is the equivalent of such sayings as 'for old time's sake'
  • Singing the song in Scotland at Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) quickly became a Scots custom that spread across the world, as Scots emigrated and took the song with them
  • Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo is often credited with popularising the use of the song at New Year's celebrations in North America, through his annual broadcasts on radio and television beginning in 1929, although it is recorded as ushering in the New Year in the States much earlier in the 19th century
  • Its first appearance in films was in the Charlie Chaplin movie The Gold Rush, re-released with added sound in 1942, where it is sung at a New Year's Eve party
  • In Japan, Auld Lang Syne is played daily to mark closing time in most large department stores, while in China it is one of the most popular mobile phone ring tones all year round
  • In Brazil, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, Poland and Germany the song is used to mark a farewell
  • In India, the melody was the direct inspiration for the popular Bengali song 'Purano shei diner kotha' (About the old days) composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, and forms one of the more recognisable tunes in Rabindra Sangeet (Rabindra's Songs), a body of work of 2,230 songs and lyrical poems that form the backbone of Bengali music
  • In the Philippines, it is well known and sung at celebrations like graduations, New Year and Christmas Day.
  • In Latin America, a salsa version of Auld Lang Syne recorded by Salsa Celtica is a regular fixture in salsa clubs, while other recording artists who have made their mark on the famous track include Funk legend James Brown and even Elvis
  • Syne is pronounced like sign - never zyne
  • And the refrain is 'For auld lang syne" - NOT 'For the sake of auld lang syne'

The original Scots version of Auld Lang Syne:

1. Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne.

Chorus
And for auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,


2. And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
3. We twa hae run about the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

4. We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

5. And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.