Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Saturday, 18 October 2008 13:08 UK

Thom will sing Homecoming anthem

Sandi Thom with the first minister
Sandi Thom will record the song which is about returning to Scotland

Singer Sandi Thom will record a version of the Scottish folk ballad "Caledonia" as an anthem for the year-long Homecoming celebrations in 2009.

The Banffshire artist will perform the Dougie McLean track, about a desire to return to Scotland, at the SNP conference in Perth.

Homecoming Scotland is a programme of events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth.

It is hoped it will attract thousands of ex-pats from across the world.

First Minister Alex Salmond said "Caledonia" was the perfect song for the Homecoming celebrations.

Caledonia, you're calling me and now I'm going home
Lyrics from "Caledonia" by Dougie McLean

Its chorus goes: "Caledonia, you're calling me and now I'm going home. And if I should become a stranger, you know it would make me more than sad. Caledonia's been everything I've ever had."

Mr Salmond said: "Caledonia is one of the great Scottish anthems, its words capture perfectly the opportunities that the year of Homecoming offers Scotland and our economy. And Sandi Thom is one of Scotland's great artists."

Five themes

The festival kicks off on Burns night, 25 January, and runs until St Andrew's Day on 30 November.

The programme of events has been organised around five main themes - Robert Burns, whisky, golf, great Scottish minds and innovations and Scotland's culture and heritage.

Among the events will be a show at the Clyde Auditorium to celebrate the songs of Burns and a whole whisky month in May, with distillers across the country opening up their doors.

There will also be the biggest clan gathering for 200 years in Edinburgh in July, and a flotilla of boats will travel the length of the Caledonian Canal, from Fort William to Inverness.




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