Flux and Flight
What a bluster in Midlothian today! There’s an autumnal wind skelping past Pathhead towards The Borders, and rustling up cherry and rowan leaves with it. Flux is where it’s at on every front it seems. Weather. Climate. Politics. Ethics. Uncertainty is in the air we breathe. It’s hard to keep up, to know how to be or where to go from here.
All of this is the backdrop to Laws of Motion, my new album with Inge Thomson and Steven Polwart, which launches next week. In the craziness of the world as it’s unfurling around us, I confess I get to doubting the value of songs at all. Shouting into the digital ether about a new album can seem just plain indulgent, a massive distraction from what’s most pressing. Maybe it is?
But I’m not sure what else to do. Each time I get into a room with others to sing or to listen, I’m minded that we need shared spaces, and shared experiences. We need time to reflect, remember, wonder, grieve and top up our stores for all the rest. Indeed, we need that now more than ever. The sense of possible connection is what’s always drawn me to music, and it’s what keeps me going at the moment.
In that spirit, here’s a glimpse into some of the songs which you can hear online ahead of the album’s release next week. There’s information too about where to find Inge, Steven and myself in live space and time, as we head out on tour in less than a week (London, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham and more).
When the easternmost Atlantic hurricane ever hit The British Isles, it brought with it Saharan sand and an uncanny light. Meantime, deadly wildfires ravaged Galicia and Portugal, causing black ash to fall as far north as Tallinn in Estonia. Isn’t it time we started acting as if we’re actually sharing the same earth, the same air? Listen here to album-opener, Ophelia. The album is released on October 19th and you can pre-order it here.
Last week, on Radio 3’s Late Junction, Verity Sharp played I Burn But I Am Not Consumed (43.24), in which the rock of the Hebridean Island of Lewis addresses President Donald Trump, whose mother was born on the Isle. The piece was written originally for performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, at the opening of Celtic Connections Festival 2017, on the eve of Trump’s Inauguration. And this is our stripped back trio version.
And here I am in conversation about the album with Mark Radcliffe for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show. Mark plays the title track Laws of Motion as well as Matsuo’s Welcome to Muckhart, an ode to Japanese gardener, Shinzaburo Matsuo, who found himself in a rural corner of early twentieth century Scotland tending a world-renowned Japanese Garden (interview begins at 27.40).
Laws of Motion Album & Tour
Myself, Steven and Inge are heading out on tour next week and it would be lovely to see you somewhere on the road. We'll mostly be in England but there's a wee dip into Pontardawe in Wales. You can find all the dates and ticket links are at the bottom of this email.
And, yes, Scotland, I’ll be announcing a couple of very exciting shows for the New Year very soon, as well as some Spring dates.
10 Things That Changed My Life
Mix-tapes and jam cupboards. Kindness and Canada winters. Women’s Aid and loneliness. Scottish weekly The Sunday National asked me about ten things that have changed my life. In case you’re curious …
A Wee Bird Was Watching
A young girl and her mother settle in the woods for a night’s sleep, after a long and tiring journey. But who will keep them safe from harm? A wee bird is watching from the trees. And it knows just what to do.
Not only do I have a new album flying into the world, there’s a picture book too, illustrated by the wonderful Edinburgh-based artist, Kate Leiper. It’s a telling of a folk tale that speaks to themes of displacement, migration and protection. And it stars a robin, one of my favourites.
Signed/inscribed copies available from my own website very soon.
There’s a song about a robin on the album too. Everything intertwines.
Next time news of a special event to mark 100 years since the end of WW1, and some exciting Celtic Connections Festival projects.
Hope to see some of you down the road. Meantime, travel safely, and look out for each other.
KARINE POLWART TRIO GIGS
OCT 17 : LONDON - CADOGAN HALL - TICKETS
OCT 18 : PORTSMOUTH - WEDGEWOOD ROOMS - TICKETS
OCT 19 : PONTARDAWE - ARTS CENTRE - TICKETS
OCT 20 : MANCHESTER - RNCM - TICKETS
OCT 21 : EXETER ***SOLD OUT***
OCT 22 : BRIGHTON - KOMEDIA - TICKETS
OCT 23 : CAMBRIDGE - JUNCTION - TICKETS
OCT 24 : LEEDS - CITY VARIETIES - TICKETS
OCT 31 : SHREWSBURY - WALKER THEATRE - TICKETS
NOV 01 : BRISTOL - ST. GEORGE'S - TICKETS
NOV 02 : BIRMINGHAM - TOWN HALL - TICKETS
NOV 03 : KENDAL ***SOLD OUT***
NOV 04 : GATESHEAD - SAGE - TICKETS
MAR 23 : NEW YORK CITY - CARNEGIE HALL (TRIO) - TICKETS