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Morag Josephine Grant

Published On


Page Range

pp. 241-260

Print Length

19 pages

12. Auld Acquaintance

Auld Lang Syne Comes Home

Chapter of: Auld Lang Syne: A Song and its Culture(pp. 241–260)
This final chapter looks at the recent history of the song in Scotland: in particular, interpretations by Scottish musicians and singers from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Through these recordings, it discusses the active “rediscovery” around this time of the tune to which Burns originally wrote his version of the song, and the emergence of a completely new, third tune as well. This period saw a significant transformation in ideas about what “Scotland” is, and a resurgence of support for Scottish nationalism—leading, amongst other things, to the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 for the first time in almost three hundred years. The chapter argues that the strategies Scottish musicians have adopted in addressing this most iconic of Scottish songs reflect these wider patterns in Scottish culture and identity. In conclusion, the chapter stages its own reconsideration of Burns and his legacy, asking to what extent, given the song’s complex history and prehistory, this can be considered Burns’s song at all.