Spawned from Karine’s much-praised 2018 Edinburgh International Festival live show of the same name, ‘Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook’ draws together interpretations of classic tracks by the likes of John Martyn, The Waterboys and Biffy Clyro. 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. This follows a string of U.S. tour dates earlier this year, including a show at New York’s Carnegie Hall and an appearance from Karine on NPR’s Tiny Desk series. Watch the video for ‘Chance’ here.
Polwart’s connection to ‘Chance’ in particular was informed in part by her experiences in the late 1990s working for the Scottish Women’s Aid charity, supporting victims of domestic abuse. Says Karine; “‘Chance’ is – as I read it – about getting pregnant too young, about domestic abuse and unemployment, which was all around me growing up in the Thatcher era. There’s this undercurrent of despair and violence. But the song is also vulnerable and beautiful. I hope we’ve captured that.”
Recorded at Chem 19 (where the likes of Franz Ferdinand, King Creosote and Teenage Fanclub have all cut albums), ‘Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook’ features regular band mates Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson, alongside Graeme Smillie (bass and keys), Calum McIntyre (kit and percussion) and Louis Abbott of Admiral Fallow (vocals, guitar & percussion). Karine has also collaborated with Scottish visual artist Jen Frankwell to create a series of multi-layered artworks to accompany her ‘Scottish Songbook’. Created using a miscellany of items including postcards, pin badges, statistical data and textile remnants, Frankwell’s thoughtful montages cut to the heart of the issues surrounding community, dignity, purpose, mental health and hope that Polwart’s body of work continues to shine a light on.
Pre-order ‘Scottish Songbook’: karinepolwart.lnk.to/scottishsongbook