Karine Polwart tells Fiona Shepherd why putting together her Scottish Songbook was a joy – though she still worries about what she’s left out
There’s a lot of songs about rain.” Without wanting to give away too much about the contents of her Scottish Songbook show as part of the International Festival’s Light on the Shore season, Karine Polwart has hit upon one of the enduring themes, not just of her concert, but of Scottish pop music in general.
Why Does It Always Rain On Me, Only Happy When It Rains, Here Comes The Rain Again, Tinseltown in The Rain… each in their way speaks to certain Caledonian characteristics – melancholy, masochism, resignation, romanticism and a refusal to be ground down – as well as the not-so-subtle role that climate plays in our national psyche. Think how many band rehearsal hours would otherwise be lost to basking in the sunshine.
The distinct (or otherwise) nature of Scottish pop music is a subject addressed by the National Museum of Scotland’s summer exhibition, Rip It Up: The Story Of Scottish Pop, as well as accompanying BBC and Radio Scotland documentaries. And this year it is to be celebrated (again) by the International Festival [ . . . ]