The Karine Polwart Trio consisting of Karine, Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson brought their unique blend of Karine’s own songs, a love of traditional songs and music, sharp political and social commentary and a visit to some music of the 1980s with them to The Queen’s Hall stage tonight.
Last year at The Fringe saw Karine premiere her award winning theatre show “Wind Resistance” and the song “Salters Road” around which the Wind Resistance story is told was one of many original songs performed by Karine in two sets to a capacity audience at The Queen’s Hall. Wind Resistance is returning to The Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in November this year, so a date to maybe put into your diaries.
As always, Karine Polwart has that trick of making songs of her own sound like they have been part of old traditional songs forever, and that skill was evident with songs like Sorry and We’re All Leaving. New work for new projects also gave us heartbreaking comments on the choices faced by all refugees (past and present) with “Suitcase”.
At first, it may have been a bit odd for Karine’s set list to include “The Killing Moon” by Echo and The Bunnymen and “You’re The Voice” by John Farnham, but step back a little, listen to the lyrics and you can see how easily they both fit into Karine’s own musical works and her personal beliefs.
Karine Polwart has built up over many years a well deserved reputation as a performer, singer, songwriter and voice of social conscience, but all of that is still not what makes any of her performances so special – the answer to that is the friendship that Karine always shares with her audience. There is no stage and audience division with Karine Polwart, but an ordinariness and down to earth reality that has never separated her from her roots, despite that very down to earth person being a very special talent and social and moral compass for us all.
Review by Tom King