Showing posts with label Karine Polwart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karine Polwart. Show all posts

Friday 29 November 2019

Concert for Scotland's Indy

Music is one of the most powerful arts. Why not a Concert for Scotland’s indy? 

My suggestions – Proclaimers, 1000 Miles, Letter to America and a new song for indy

Deacon Blue – Dignity; 
Dougie MacLean – Caledonia, Green Grow the Rashes O;

Karen Matheson – Red Red Rose, and a Gaelic song; 
Blue Rose Code – Scotland Yet; 

Rab Noakes – Gently Does it, Eden’s flow; 
Braebach – Rattlin Roarin Willie and tune; 

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham; tunes.  

Karine Polwart – Westlin Winds;  Julie Fowlis – Gaelic song;  Chvrches – Miracle; Eddi Reader – Auld lang Syne. 

Thursday 19 April 2018

Karine Polwart wins Folk Award

One of our top singer songwriters Karine Polwart has won one of the top prizes at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Karine was named Folk Singer of the Year at the ceremony in Belfast,

Also winners were Scots singers Siobhan Miller and Mohsen Amini.

I’ve seen Karine at several top concerts – at the Tall Ship, Oran Mor, Celtic Connections concerts and more.  

Last year Karine put on an award winning theatre show call Wind Resistance. Also highly recommend her Traces album. She has a powerful voice and also meaningful stories to tell.

Karine Polwart & Julie Fowlis
Dick Gaughan & Karine Polwart

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Dick Gaughan Tribute Concert at Celtic Connections 2018

Mary Macmaster, Patsy Seddon
Songs of Defiance and social conscience and an evening of contrast, quality, and sincerity

Gaughan has become something of a legend on the Scottish and world folk circuits for more than 40 years. He is an interpreter of Scotland’s traditional folk songs with his distinctive style of guitar playing, with open chords and timing that he learnt from guitarist Davey Graham. Fans beside me had heard Gaughan over in California.

The concert was a tribute to Gaughan’s authenticity. He cares about the truth of things and of digging below the surface for stories behind the songs. We live in shallow times, where false greed and facades matter more than being open hearted or honest. Gaughan is not only angry – he was furious at injustice and he spoke and sang of this with unequalled passions. In-between songs, while tuning his guitar Gaughan, would tell his stories.

Tonight’s performers sang political and social songs of the poor state of things – that tell of Grenfell tower monument to greed and selfishness, Aberfan disaster, miners strikes, Jute mill songs, Niel Gow’s fiddle. Where are the young voices of protest today?
Wilson Family
Tony McMannus
**The concert was a celebration of the music and politics that matters to Gaughan. Host Elaine C Smith sang Michael Marra’s Mother Glasgow, and introduced an incomparable line-up of Gaughan’s long time friends and collaborators. 

The Wilson Family sang Baker Hil - “close the mineshaft door” - and other songs, with powerful male harmonies. The accomplished guitarists Tony McManus and Martin Simpson paid tribute and Simpson performed Bob Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell and other songs. Karine Polwart sang Craigie Hill’ and told the moving story of being given Dick’s album a Handful of Earth the night before her grandfather’s funeral - a song about immigration and leaving. The Bevvy Sisters sang Marra’s Like Another Rolling StoneMary Macmaster, Patsy Seddon sang Gaelic songs (Clan Alba) .

Dougie MacLean closed this very special evening with a moving climax with his song This love Will Carry. Gaughan, who has has been ill the past year appeared on stage to a standing ovation. I was glad he had been persuaded him to appear for his devoted fans and that he didn’t remain a ‘presence’ behind the curtain. Dick said he hoped to be back to sing next year for us and we hoped too!

I first heard Gaughan back in the 80s at an Edinburgh folk club and I have met him at Milngavie folk club and he is always friendly and unassuming. He would open his set with the Si Kahn song, What you Do With What You’ve gotI’ve heard many folk singers live and Gaughan is by miles the most moving and powerful. Like Dylan, he doesn’t smooth over the Big Issues of our time,
I took my guitarist son a few years back to hear him and he was hugely impressed. I will always remember sitting enthralled to this Westlin Winds, his impassioned and defining interpretation of the Robert Burns song, when he would say, “One of the best songs ever written, it says all there is to say. Certainly an Outlaw and Dreamer like no other!


Did anyone record a full set I wondered with his chat between songs? Folk singers know the depth of things – as Dylan wrote – Folk songs were my guide to a new republic.’
Maybe he is, but Gaughan should write his thoughts for a book. Like Burns and Dylan before him Dick trawled the archives in the national library for the rich tapestry of the old ballads and brought many back to life. His personal heritage mixes Celtic traditions of both Ireland and the Scottish Islands.

(Clan Alba, A folk supergroup, featured Dick Gaughan. Mary Macmaster, Brian MacNeill, Fred Morrison, Patsy Seddon, Davy Steele, Mike Travis and Dave Tulloch. With guitars, harps, pipes, fiddles and percussion, and distinctive collective harmonies. Their 1996 debut album - included ‘Bye Bye Big Blue’, a lament for the closure of the Ravenscraig Steel Works, and Gaughan’s evocative ‘Childhood’s End’.)

Friday 29 September 2017

'Visions for the future Scotland' talk EIBF 2017

Karine Polwart
This was a diverse, imaginative and inspired talk.
 - with singer songwriter Karine Polwart, Thomas McEachan (Youth Parliament0, Chris Van Der Kuyh (Dundee Games industry) The theme was Voltaire's quote during the Enlightenment - “We look to Scotland” – they asked, does Scotland still have this clout today and spoke of civic spaces for people to meet.

McEachan spoke of a greater sense of civic responsibility towards and by younger people, who were volunteering more. Start a community group, the money is there.  He spoke of Scotland’s future forum the technical influences on society. He felt that Quantitative GDP numbers are not so important. He said there was so much soul destroying work many young people are enduring today – of what we value about people – we care about respect, compassion, warmth …

The Enlightenment economist Adam Smith did not only write of economics, he also wrote, The 'Theory of moral Statements of Human Empathy’. He also campaigned against slavery.  

Karine gave us a few stories. The drinking dens of Edina where ideas got fermented and exchanged. The star poet Robert Fergusson, was invited to elite circles. He was friends with psychiatrist Andrew Duncan, who was devoted to the Royal Edinburgh hospital. Sadly he died young. After the death of Fergusson he used his influence to found a mental health institute. She spoke of the transformative effect of open spaces to meet in real life people not always like ourselves.

Chris Van Der Kuyh (Dundee Games industry) said we were loosing tools – is technology making things too easy? He has worked on Minecraft Game for 7 years. The games industry requires ability to think in a different way – for entrepreneurship and not accepting the status quo and for creating the impossible. Walter Scott shone a light on Scotland. 

They discussed the importance of a ‘Collaborative culture.’
 They expressed important routes to change -
The future is not about political voices – rather it will be team based. Politics goes in circles and does not get the big ideas. We must decide on the values for Scotland; mentor young people; share access and international collaboration.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Laura Marling Opening Concert CELTIC CONNECTIONS 2017

So I arrived early as people are setting up their stalls – of accordions, pipes and folk CDs. Roddy Hart and a camera crew were in the concert hall foyer and the Press office has wine and nibbles set out. Someone was playing piano and they were setting out equipment for the open mic. And so #ccfest begins for another year to celebrate live music, special collaborations, brilliant musicianship and perfect singers who perform quality songs. On the stage the orchestra limbers up tuning their instruments.

Sometimes Celtic Connections offers some gems and there were several tonight. The first set for this evening’s celebration of women and song, included six talented artists backed by the Scottish national orchestra (RSNO).

Scottish songwriter Karine Polwart performed songs from her Wind Resistance. She read a poem of new president Trump. ‘’I am worn but I am not consumed,’ a message from the rocks of Lewis to the son of Mary MacLeod. She also sang ‘Cover Your Eyes’ and ‘Half A Mile’. Karine wrote a performance piece, Wind Resistance, for the Lyceum Edinburgh which will be performed at the Tron theatre during Celtic Connections. While the orchestra added rich depth and resonance.

Adam Holmes and Rachel Sermanni sang with lilting country harmonies. There was a moving and colourful performance from Aziza Bahim from the Sahara and her quality band. Her joy of music has brightened her life in an Algerian refugee camp. An important part of Celtic Connections is to bring different cultures together and to look at the plight of those suffering great hardship.

Cara Dillon has recorded with an orchestra, so this was a familiar setting and she sang the traditional song ‘She Moves Through the Fair.’  Lindsay Lou and the flatbellys  entertained with their fun rhythmic American tunes. While Declan O’Rourke was another hit with his large voice he sang ‘Who puts the rainbow sin the sky’ with the song Slieve Bloom and Galileo.

**For the second half of this quality concert Laura Marling gave a still, introspective, both fragile and strong performance. She stood centre stage with the orchestra behind her and sang her journey in song, with words such as ‘I will not be a victim of romance.’ On one song she tells herself to ‘Breathe!” She shuns celebrity trappings, a child of nature with no make-up. She sang ‘I love England in snow… I ’m on my own and I feel like running.’ Her songs of winter, romance and memories. There was also a nod to Leonard Cohan with the song Avalanche.

She is an accomplished, moving artist. She performed a stunning suite of her songs ‘Take The Night Off’, ‘I was and Eagle’, ‘You know’ and ‘Breathe’, composed by Kate St John. She also sang – ‘What He Wrote’, ‘Sophia’, ‘Hope in the Air’, ‘Goodbye England’.

Her voice is both gentle, doubting and questioning with the nuanced voice of Joni or the hard edge of Dylan. Marling has spent time in LA – has she had time to live though? Laura began her career at the young age of 17. She is an award-winning English folk singer songwriter and at 26 she has been prolific with the release of five studio albums.
This concert offered tasters of some of the outstanding artists who will perform at Celtic Connections this year.

II   On the Radio on the way home I heard the young band Rura (who perform at the Barrowlands at Celtic Connections) who talked of their fun on the road touring. Is that really why Dylan got a band and went rockier In my view some of the greatest art is about collaboration with other artists, both past and present.

SUITE of Take the Night Off/ I was an Eagle/ You know
What He Wrote/ Sophia/ Hope in the Air/ Avalanche/ Goodbye England.

Celtic Connections is a major folk and roots festival running over 19 days and 19 Glasgow venues (begun in 1994) celebrates its 23rd year.