I went to another Karine Polwart concert on Saturday night – at Colston Hall. I think this was the fifth time I’ve seen her perform. Predictably, she was quite brilliant (performing alongside her brother Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson).She studied politics and philosophy at university and later worked in the area of women’s and children’s rights and now, through her songwriting, she provides a powerful commentary on people’s lives and the world in general (that sounds VERY grand doesn’t it, but her songs definitely work for me in this respect).
I’m not sure who wrote this about her, but I think they’ve got it absolutely right:
“Her songs deal with humanity in all its many guises: there is tenderness, triumph and sorrow, raised flags of rebellion and independence, flashes of anger at power abused and misused. Perhaps most frequently she deals in spare, unsentimental empathy, often with those who have been dealt the least playable hands in the game of life”.
Eloquent, intelligent, political, lyrical, funny, rebellious, humble and inspirational.
PS: Travelling in their van from gig to gig, they apparently try to think up (and sing) cover songs they might be able perform with a ukulele accompaniment… and they’ve now begun to ask their audiences for suggestions too! On Saturday night, they sang Billy Bragg’s “A New England” in this format (which was quite brilliant – and the full house joined in very enthusiastically). They promised to post a version on YouTube. I can’t now remember what our audience suggested but, again, they’ve promised a YouTube posting! I’ll endeavour to remember to add the links in due course.
PPS: Her latest CD “Traces” is excellent (possibly her best yet?) and I was delighted to see that, as well as the song lyrics, the notes provide background information to each of the songs (in the same way as she does when she introduces them at her gigs). I like this!