Just got back from Glasgow having seen Karine Polwart and Seth Lakeman in concert at the Old Fruitmarket. Will add to this post tomorrow when I get more time, but suffice to say, a most excellent evening.
Friday was a great day, albeit a long one. I was on Islay for the day, which meant leaving home at the habitual 0530 to catch the 0700 to the island. Reasonable crossing, if a dozy one, most of which I spent snoozing at my seat. No fabulous sunrise this time, but a good couple of jobs done. Managed to grab a few toggies on the pier at Port Ellen waiting for the ferry back to Kennacraig, herewith:
Prawn creels on the pier at Port Ellen
Safely back on land, met up with Her Maj and boarded her car for the drive to Glasgow. Got in to our hotel and out again in short order for a meal in the Baby Grand piano bar – mushroom pasta for me and fish and chips for her – and over the the Fruitmarket just as Karine Polwart started her concert.
The Fruitmarket is a smashing little venue in Glasgow’s Merchant City area with a lovely retro feel. Not sure what the capacity is, but there must have been around 600 people there that night and it felt absolutely fine. Karine’s singing is simply rapturous to listen to and the poetry of her words is a continual delight – in the same song she writes the two (separate) lines, “a wither of skin and bone” and “you can’t grow a tree from a fallen leaf”. Her writing and music are an emotional and melodic dose of medicine at the end of a long and busy week.
Seth Lakeman was the second half of this Celtic Connections concert. Seth is the fiddling phenomenon from Dartmoor who has rather set the folk music world alight in the last year or so and is, like Karine, just getting some radio airplay. His music is percussive, passionate, physical and, to be honest, not a little strange, if compelling for all that. His fiddle playing is muscular, almost butch, and forces itself on your attention. His songs are rooted in folk legend from his native Dartmoor and Devon, although he did make a raid across the Tamar in adapting a Cornish tale for one song. He had the whole place jumping, which isn’t bad for a violin or ukulele player.
Altogether a fantastic evening of music, but both Her Maj and I agreed on one thing, it may have been Seth who rocked the joint, but it was Karine’s music and words that stayed with you afterwords.