Watch the Karine Polwart Trio Perform At The Tiny Desk 

Karine Polwart Trio

Scottish singer, songwriter and essayist Karine Polwart seldom comes stateside. She prefers to limit air travel in order to minimize her carbon footprint. She took exception, however, to fly from Edinburgh to New York City to participate in the Carnegie Hall Migrations festival, a celebration of the history of the movement of people all around the world. Polwart and her brother, guitarist Steven Polwart and multi-instrumentalist, Inge Thomson, then escaped New York for a day to play the Tiny Desk here in Washington, D.C.

Polwart writes songs about hope, music that harnesses spiritual power and lyrics that address important social justice themes. Stories of human emotion and the human experience are also commonplace as in the first tune, “Ophelia.”

Her second song at the desk, “I Burn But I Am Not Consumed,” includes a mesmerizing spoken word denunciation of President Donald Trump, while the closing tune, “King of Birds,” praises the power of small things. In it Polwart recounts the legend of a wren who piggybacks a lift on an eagle’s wing. Just as the large bird is unable to fly any higher in the sky, the tiny wren catches a breath of air, soars higher than the eagle and is crowned the king of all birds.

Lyricism and messages of hope and beauty heard throughout punctuate a stunning accompaniment of inventive instrumentation. The steady, resonant guitar riffs played by Steven Polwart ground the delicate vocal harmonies. Inge Thomson’s accordion lines, combined with an array of percussion instruments and synth-generated effects, add a complimentary layer of sound without overpowering the music. Karine Polwart’s bellowing and drone-like Shruti box provides a sweet serenity.

SET LIST

  • “Ophelia”
  • “I Burn But I Am Not Consumed”
  • “King of Birds”

MUSICIANS

Karine Polwart: vocals, guitar, shruti box; Steven Polwart: guitar, vocals; Inge Thomson: accordion, percussion, noises, vocals

 

Listen at: Video: Watch the Karine Polwart Trio Perform At The Tiny Desk : NPR

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Karine Polwart Announces New Album: Scottish Songbook 

Karine Polwart announces her new album ‘Scottish Songbook’. Listen to the latest single, her version of ‘Women Of The World’ by Ivor Cutler.

Karine Polwart today announces her forthcoming new album ‘Scottish Songbook’, due for release on August 2, 2019 through Hegri Music. The follow-up to her acclaimed 2018 album ‘Laws Of Motion’ (reviewed here) – which drew standout reviews, including Mojo Folk Album Of The Year – the new project captures multi-award winning songwriter and musician, theatre maker and published writer Polwart reimagining a clutch of tracks which span over sixty years of Scottish pop. Spawned from Karine’s much-praised 2018 Edinburgh International Festival live show of the same name, ‘Scottish Songbook’ draws together her interpretations of classic tracks by the likes of John Martyn, Chvrches, Strawberry Switchblade and Biffy Clyro. The album details arrive today alongside the latest single from the album, Polwart’s version of ‘Women Of The World’ by Ivor Cutler.

Karine – a six-time winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including 2018 Folk Singer of The Year – will launch the album alongside a performance at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival on August 2, 2019, ahead of a UK headline tour including London’s Barbican on November 27, 2019 (on sale March 15). Continue reading