Westlife music to feature in military tattoo

The music of chart-topping boyband Westlife and Blade Runner film score composer Vangelis feature in the programme for the 54th Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which was announced today.

More than 1,000 performers from home and abroad, including South Korea, Oman and Switzerland, will take part in this year’s event.

The spectacle is to be held each night in the shadow of the city’s castle from August 1 to 23.

Organisers say ticket sales are now about 10,000 ahead of the same time last year, despite the success of the Golden Jubilee Tattoo attended by the British Queen.

The sales are also in spite of concerns over the effect of the recent Iraq war on visitor numbers to the Scottish capital.

Tattoo chief executive and producer, Brigadier Melville Jameson, said he was “thrilled” by the speed of ticket applications from across the world for this year’s event.

The Tattoo is to open with a fanfare to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland.

With more than 99% of all tickets already sold, the showpiece event is expected to sell out for a fifth consecutive year.

The event attracts 9,000 spectators to the Castle Esplanade, at the top of the Royal Mile, each evening.

He added: “In contrast to the pomp and ceremony of the 2002 Tattoo, this production will resonate enormous colour and variety, embracing the talents of performers from eight countries from around the world, and includes a particularly strong home team.

“Although the main pillars of the Tattoo are the Pipes & Drums and military bands from the British Army, these days we are also presenting acts from across the globe which have never been seen before in the UK.”

A Tattoo favourite, the Massed Pipes & Drums, will include performers from Australia, New Zealand and Oman.

They will perform a combined musical programme boasting Westlife’s Queen of My Heart, and the soundtrack to Ridley Scott’s 1992 Christopher Columbus biopic, Conquest of Paradise, by Greek composer Vangelis.

The Royal Scots, The Scots Guards and The Black Watch are among several regiments performing at the three-week festival which is to include a tribute to the Armed Services.

This year will also include the first UK appearance by the traditional band of the army of the Republic of Korea, which will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the armistice in the Korean War during a display of colour and ancient tradition from the Far East.

The Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums and Bermuda National Gombey Troupe will perform a tropical combination of calypso and dancing, while the Royal Army of Oman Band, Pipes & Drums and folklore arts troupe will provide an exhibition of Middle Eastern music, dance and song.

Switzerland’s 20-strong Top Secret Drum Corps from Basel are making their first visit to Edinburgh, while the US Army Drill Team travel from Washington for a display of precision marching and crisp rifle drill with bayonet-tipped rifles.

Other highlights include a tribute to the 370-year history of The Royal Scots, a combined 100-strong dance troupe including members of the Schiehallion Dance ensemble from Hamilton, Ontario, a demonstration by the Flying Gunners Motorcycle Display Team of The Royal Artillery and a precision mounted display by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery performing their renowned Musical Drive.

The grand finale, featuring the entire 1000-strong cast and a special tribute to the Armed Services, will feature a Lone Piper, high on the Castle ramparts, playing the haunting lament Sleep Dearie Sleep.

Members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Scots will parade each evening during the finale sequence to provide The Guard of Honour.

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