Mark Stephen and Helen Needham with part 2 of their chat with Karine Polwart.
More Lankum on The Hobbledehoy
Katie Cruel is a traditional American folksong, likely of Scottish origin. As a traditional song, Katie Cruel has been recorded by many performers, but the best known recording of the song is by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The American version of the song is said to date to the Revolutionary War period. The song is Roud no. 1645.
The American lyrics appear to contain an oblique story of regret. As given in Eloise Hubbard Linscott’s The Folk Songs of Old New England. The opening verse of the song bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish song, Licht Bob’s Lassie, whose opening verses mirror the song in both notional content and form.
First when I cam’ tae the toon
They ca’d me young and bonnie
Noo they’ve changed my name
Ca’ me the licht bob’s honey
First when I cam’ tae the toonWikipedia
They ca’d me young and sonsie
Noo they’ve changed my name
They ca’ me the licht bob’s lassie
Lankum are a contemporary Irish folk music group from Dublin, consisting of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. Their music has been characterised as “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”. Reviewing their third album The Livelong Day for The Guardian, Jude Rogers described it as “a folk album influenced by the ambient textures of Sunn O)) and Swans, plus the sonic intensity of Xylouris White and My Bloody Valentine”. In 2018 they were named Best Folk Group at the RTÉ Folk Music Awards, while Radie Peat was named Best Folk Singer.
Can you remember the first time you saw yourself reflected back from a television screen or at the cinema?
It’s quite vivid in my memory as an awkward, hapless schoolboy, watching Gregory’s Girl at home in the mid-1980s. I was agog at not how achingly funny it was, from almost the first frame to the last, but also how true to life it felt to the harsh realities of teenage years when almost everything feels like a total mystery.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Gregory’s Girl recently, partly because it is 40 years old next year. It is undoubtedly a touchstone for my generation, but is still seen as one of the greatest Scottish films of all-time. Director Bill Forsyth is revered as one of the nation’s leading filmmakers, not just for Gregory’s Girl, which was famously honoured in the opening ceremony for the London Olympics in 2012, but for his two other best-known movies, Local Hero and Comfort and Joy. All three comfortably fit into the category of comedy.
Yet 40 years on, the current crop of Scottish comics have had to go into battle to try to secure official recognition for their art form for the first time and a share of the £107m lifeline funding to secure the future of arts and culture north of the border. I’ve come across some bizarre scenarios, but the sight of Scottish stand-ups pleading for fair treatment from the government of a country of Billy Connolly, Frankie Boyle, Still Game, Chewin’ the Fat, Elaine C Smith and Karen Dunbar is right up there.