Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 17:02 UK

Burns homage in Tattoo programme

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Pipes and Drums
There will be more than 1,000 performers at this year's Tattoo

A panoply of international talent, including UK debuts for performers from China and a Canadian choir, will help celebrate the 60th Edinburgh Tattoo.

The event will also celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

More than 1,000 performers, featuring a Tongan cultural troupe, Swiss percussionists and Brit Award-winning pipers and drummers will attend.

The tattoo is expected to draw 217,000 people over three weeks from 7 August.

A special Burns homage will include Canada's Calgary Burns singers - alongside vocalists from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

I believe an unforgettable experience awaits you
Major General Euan Loudon
Tattoo chief executive and producer

About 200 pipers and drummers representing 10 different bands from the UK and overseas are expected to fill the Esplanade playing Scots, Wha Hae and Duncan Gray.

The pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, whose CD of military music partly recorded in Iraq won the best album award at the Classical Brits ceremony in May, will take to the arena along with The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The musicians will together perform a special selection of tunes including the world premiere of a specially commissioned composition entitled Tour of Duty by Runrig founder member Blair Douglas.

One of China's top cultural acts, the 90-strong She Huo troupe from Edinburgh's twin city of Xi'an, will perform a colourful display of traditional song, dance and acrobatics, with "never-before-seen skills".

The Central Band of the Swiss Army will make its debut Tattoo performance.

Also a first for the Tattoo, an all-action mock rescue by the RAF medical emergency response team will take place every night.

In what appears to be a Chinook helicopter - created by use of sophisticated lighting technology - the team will rescue two "injured" colleagues from a hostile environment.

Three pipe bands from the southern hemisphere - New Zealand's Auckland Police, the Australian Federal Police from Canberra and the South African Cape Town Highlanders - will join the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, among others, to entertain the crowds.

The grand finale, with all the performers and a musical medley in honour of Scotland's national bard, will bring the show to a close as the Lone Piper, high on the Castle ramparts, plays A Gratefu' Prayer.

Tattoo chief executive and producer, Major General Euan Loudon, said: "Whether it is award-winning pipers and drummers, Scottish Highland dancers, colourful representations from overseas, or some of Britain's finest military bands, I believe an unforgettable experience awaits you."

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