Porridge and a wee dram for sister act

Sister Cities Tartan Ties performer Robert Scott (left) and artistic director Simon Vare are set to celebrate the relationship of Dunedin and Edinburgh later this month. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Sister Cities Tartan Ties performer Robert Scott (left) and artistic director Simon Vare are set to celebrate the relationship of Dunedin and Edinburgh later this month. Photo by Peter McIntosh

Free whisky - that got your attention. Tastings of the water of life, peaty ale, acts by Scottish performers and a porridge-eating world-record attempt - these are just some of the ways Dunedin and Edinburgh will strengthen ties later this month.

Sister Cities Tartan Ties will be held in Dunedin for three days from November28. The collaboration will celebrate artists and creative projects in both cities.

The New Zealand-based British Council and Creative Scotland have funded $15,000 for three Scottish musicians to join the Dunedin celebration.

Edinburgh artists Withered Hand (Dan Willson), Emelle (Craig Lithgow) and Kevin Williamson will perform along with Dunedin's Robert Scott, Jay Clarkson and David Eggleton at the event.

Scott, of Dunedin bands The Bats and The Clean, said his father emigrated to Dunedin from Fife in 1958 and Scottish music was regularly sung in his family home.

''It's a strong part of my musicality ... it's deeply ingrained so Sister Cities Tartan Ties makes perfect sense and it's really good to get involved.''

Sister Cities artistic director Simon Vare, of Dunedin, said that on Saturday, November 28, a haggis would be piped from Albar and a pot of porridge would be piped from Scotia Bar & Bistro.

''We are going to set a world porridge-eating record.''

There would also be free whisky tasting, haggis, and oat pancakes, he said.

Emerson's Brewery was brewing kegs of a peaty Scottish Ale.

The British Council has been working with Mr Vare, Auckland's Gareth Farry, Dunedin City Council and Creative Scotland to make the most out of bilateral ties between Dunedin and Scotland.

Last year, Dunedin musician Jake Cropley performed at the Celtic Connections Music Festival in Glasgow.

British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair said modern travel and technology made it easier to overcome distance to celebrate common ancestry.

Some of the artists from both cities had been collaborating via Skype, he said.

''It's fantastic to see musicians from both cities being able to collaborate over the internet before coming together for live performance in each other's backyards, bringing their stories and shared history with them.''

British Council director Ingrid Leary said people in Scotland were genuinely enthusiastic about Dunedin.

''They want to know more where their ancestors emigrated to.

''They are fascinated to learn about the Scottish place names, the whiskies, the tartans and modern culture.''

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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