How the forgotten middle verses of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ reveal its deeper meaning on memory and gratitude

As is so often the case with old songs, the middle verses bear the greater load of meaningful content (and are also, incidentally, the first forgotten.)

As I returned to my favorite holiday traditions over the last couple weeks, I fell again under the spell of “Auld Lang Syne.” It has always seemed to me a perfect song, with words and melody bound together so tightly as to be inextricable, like soul and body.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?”

The phrase from which the song draws its title, preserved in the lyrics’ original Scots language, is often translated as “long, long ago” or “old long since.” I completely approve of those who left the phrase “auld lang syne” untampered in the modern English version. The wooden translations do violence to the phrase. Even at the phonetic level, the Scots “auld lang syne” seems to carry a vernacular charm, rolling off the tongue like fog from the highlands.

How can we celebrate “picking daisies fine” alongside wearisome wandering, or raise a glass to paddling streams together alongside our estrangement across broad seas?

For anyone who thinks “Auld Lang Syne” was written specifically for the final cathartic minutes of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” however, these translations do provide a helpful entry point for understanding the song’s history and legacy.

Composed by the poet Robert Burns in the second half of the 18th century, the song rapidly gained popularity across the English speaking lands. It eventually took its place among standard New Year’s Eve festivities, encouraging eager party-goers to reflect upon the year coming to a close before celebrating the year to come.

The song goes on:

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‘More young people should learn to love Auld Lang Syne’

Auld Lang Syne remains one of Robert Burns' best-known works

The next generation could let old anthems be forgotten, according to new research which show Auld Lang Syne is not a New Year hit with younger listeners.

Online streaming data has shown that the traditional ballad sung to ring in the New Year is losing popularity, with mainly older generations still listening. The Scottish song, based on a poem by Robert Burns, was the most-played track between 11.55pm on New Year’s Eve 2017 and 12.05am on January 1 this year, according to streaming service Deezer. However, the hymn to the passing of the old year may be a tradition that is lost on a new generation, with 18 to 25-year-old listeners making up only 5% of those streaming on New Year. More than half of all Auld Lang Syne streams are from listeners aged over 45.

Deezer editor Adam Read said: “This New Year’s Eve, we’re encouraging more young people to embrace the festive tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne.” The song remains popular in Scotland, with Glasgow the location of the most streams. This is followed by Farnham in Surrey, with Aberdeen, Barry and Great Yarmouth rounding off the top five. Burns first penned the poem in 1788, claiming to have collected the verse from a more ancient Scots song. Put to a traditional folk tune, it became a Scottish custom to sing the song, which was spread across the world through emigration from the British Isles.

Source THE SCOTSMAN: ‘More young people should learn to love Auld Lang Syne’

Musician Mairi is breathing new life into Auld Lang Syne 

he story of Scotland’s most famous song and the life of one of its most celebrated musicians are coming to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Mairi Campbell: Auld Lang Syne is the story of Scotland’s most famous song and the life of one of the nation’s most celebrated musicians. Mairi follows her hugely successful solo theatre show Pulse bringing audiences on a new adventure taking in singing for US President Bill Clinton, a starring role in Sex and the City and a reinterpretation of the Robert Burns classic that changed her life.

Blending storytelling, dance and new music composed in collaboration with David Gray, Mairi Campbell: Auld Lang Syne explores the meaning of one of the world’s most performed songs through the lens of Mairi’s rich experience.

Delivered with her trademark wit, gentle charm and unparalleled musical ability the sequel to five star show Pulse is an unforgettable hour in the company of one of Scotland’s leading artists.

With live music, animation and a singalong, this funny and heartfelt show resonates with wider universal truths.

Mairi Campbell: Auld Lang Syne is a continuation of Mairi’s exploration of multi artform performance and this collaboration is co-devised directed and directed by Kath Burlinson, featuring a collection of tracks composed with musician David Gray with input from musician David Francis and featuring sculpture from sound artist Tim Vincent Smith and animation from Claire Lamond. Mairi Campbell: Auld Lang Syne is part of the 2018 Made in Scotland Showcase.

Source: Musician Mairi is breathing new life into Auld Lang Syne – Scottish Field

Paolo Nutini sings Auld Lang Syne

The Scots, Brits, Welsh and Irish emmigrants brought the tradition of ringing in the new year around the world. In this BBC clip, Scottish soulman Paolo Nutini talks a bit about the song’s history, and his preference for the traditional Scottish version, with lyrics by the great Robert Burns.

Happy New Year!

Burns’ Orginal Scots verse

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.