Kim Edgar Newsletter February/March 2016 Feb 03 2016
The CARA Scottish tour, including my best gig ever, stories untold, road testing songs and thoughts from outer space…it's all here!
CARA launch Yet We Sing, 15th January 2016! Jan 10 2016
It's almost upon us! The new CARA album, Yet We Sing, is officially launched this Friday, 15th January. Click here to read this month's newsletter with details of all the forthcoming gigs in Switzerland, Germany and Scotland!
I’ve been loathe to write a post this past week, with all that’s been going on in Paris and around the world, as well as close to home.
How do you square the joy I felt in performing with my bandmates in Soltau on Friday night (in a beautiful, new, felt factory museum, of all places - transformed into a music venue for the first time with the care and attention of volunteers), with the unfolding revelation, after our tasty post-gig Italian meal, of the atrocities that befell innocent audience members at a different concert, and everyday people enjoying their dinner, in Paris? How do I stop myself from imagining the sheer terror some people must have experienced in the moments before their death, and from a growing sense of helplessness?
How do I acknowledge my pleasure in playing a Grotrian Steinweg grand in Hannover, and finding a beautiful new teal merchandise case, alongside the unexpected loss of a generous, benevolent and supportive radio producer, who is ultimately the reason I’m making music, and all the bereavements which I’m aware are currently devastating the life of others? How do we all hold all of these kinds of things together? And acknowledge, with sensitivity, that even when really big, hard stuff is happening, all the little stuff, and the good stuff, continues, too?
After days of reflection, I’ve decided that the only way for me to do this is to practise gratitude. So here are some things I’m grateful for, from the world outside the tour van:
Stewart Cruickshank was a very special man. Everyone who knew him agrees. On Tuesday, on my way to teach Christmas carols to a Primary School choir, I learned in the car of his death. I was deeply saddened, because Stewart had a huge impact on the path my life has taken over the past ten years.
Back in 2005, as a member of the board of Burnsong, Stewart heard some kind of potential in me, in a song submission for unsigned songwriters, and had the kindness and generosity to tell me so, and to convince a timid, nervous songwriter that she had something of value to say and should continue to try and say it. Through support on the Iain Anderson show (not just then, but ever since), and Stewart’s continuing encouragement, care and kind words, and the experiences which being one of the winners of the Burnsong Gathering 2005 afforded me (including being completely blown away by the songwriting and performance of Karine Polwart), I decided to leave my job as a primary teacher and pursue a career as a songwriter. The experiences snowballed into several fantastic years writing and performing with The Burns Unit, and then a song from that project brought me to the ears of Gudrun, which led to my most and unexpected (and fortuitous!) career move to date - to become a member of Cara.
This is not a unique story. Almost ever other member of the Scottish industry that I’ve spoken with over the past few days has their own story of how Stewart took them under his wing, or helped them to develop. He had a genuine passion for music, of all kinds, and also a generous heart. What a legacy he has left behind him. I will always be grateful to have known him.
OUR INSTINCTIVE GOODNESS
There’s a danger of feeling overwhelmed and helpless in the face of terrorism. It’s an abyss of despair that’s easy to fall into. But from reading accounts of the response of members of the public to the attacks in Paris on Friday, there were two strong images which stayed with me: the surge on social media of “porte ouverte” messages from locals opening their doors to help strangers in need of a place to hide, or sleep, in the face of grave danger, and a man who instinctively grabbed the hand of a woman, a stranger, he lay beside on the floor of a restaurant during an attack. He didn’t know it at the time, but she had been shot in the chest. Nevertheless, she died comforted by and connected to another human being. I’m grateful that as humans we have an instinctive goodness.
A FRIENDSHIP BRACELET
I may have a low (or no!) taste barrier when it comes to music - I tend to enjoy everything! But nothing leaves me feeling more inspired than when I listen to music that I know intimately, recorded, or live, by my favourite artists, or when I hear community groups of all ages and abilities singing together. There is something about group singing that is truly magical.
In my first “home break” during this Cara tour, we took the kids from The BIG Project Youth Chor along to hear Love Music, a 350 strong community choir based in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, ably led by Stephen Deazley with super talented Dave Milligan at the piano. In this performance, we were also treated to the beat boxing wonders of “The Hobbit” who thoroughly inspired our choir members.
We were attending this performance because the kids at The BIG Project are just embarking on a song commission, which we’ll perform with Love Music next March in the Usher Hall. It’s to be inspired by the writings and thoughts of Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, the former commander of the International Space Station, who is talking at the Usher Hall next year, after his blogs, songs and writings became very popular. One quote from his “astronaut’s guide to optimism” seems particularly pertinent at the moment:
“There are problems with everything and nothing is perfect. But that shouldn’t be cause to bemoan. That should be cause to achieve.”
On the way to the concert, walking towards the 22 bus stop, a nine year old boy that I was responsible for gave me (and another child in our group) a white friendship bracelet. I was touched, and gladly wore my bracelet for the night, unfortunately forgetting to return it to the child when we got back to Broomhouse (it’s to be noted that I can’t be trusted with pens or money, either). This week, during my four day stint at home before the final three gigs of the tour, I remembered to catch the child while I was at The BIG Project in order to return the bracelet. Wordlessly, but with a few small sounds, he stuck his hand out, and gave it to me to keep. A generous, quiet gesture.
I’m wearing that bracelet today as I travel, to remind myself of all the small, good things happening on this tour, and all over the place, that we can be grateful for, despite there being problems with everything. I’m looking forward to performing the last three gigs of our autumn tour with my bandmates - hopefully making good music that spreads a little bit of happiness to our audiences, and having fun ourselves - even though there’s loads of hard stuff that I’m aware of, too. And I’m remembering another thing that Chris Hadfield said, that each of us are the only ones who can change things for the better, together.
It’s actually the same message as in Gudrun’s lyrics from the title track of our forthcoming album, Yet We Sing: “in darkness, raise your voice”.
Over and out.
CARA AUTUMN TOUR - END OF THE FIRST LEG! Nov 01 2015
Last night’s gig in the Anton Bruckner Centrum in Ansfelden, Austria was our last gig in the first leg of the autumn tour. It was lovely to return to this venue where I played on my first tour with CARA - and the welcome, the backstage food, the Grüner Veltliner and the venue’s colour scheme were all as lovely as I remembered!
So far this tour, two particular piano highlights for me have been playing on the Yamaha grand in the stunning venue in Göggingen, and a Bösendorfer grand in Puchheim that was truly delightful to play. Though there are benefits in playing an instrument that you don’t have to carry around, or tune yourself, there are also challenges: you need to get to know the workings and responses of a new instrument every day, with their own personalities and quirks, as well as their own sound. Worst case scenarios? A piano that, it turns out, hasn’t been tuned, or an electric piano with an energy saving switch - this has already caught me unawares on several previous tours! So far this tour I’ve made it through relatively unscathed, though I did set off a metronome on one electric piano, and it took me quite a while to realise where the high beeping sound was coming from...
The dangers of binary thinking have been occupying my mind these past couple of days. It all started with a sauna ceremony (aufguss, I think, in German?) in Erding Spa which was for men only - a beer ceremony. Running concurrently was a yogurt face mask ceremony for women. I was frustrated to be denied access to the beer, and vaguely angry that this distinction had been made! It also reminded me of another frustration, last month, when, on a teaching trip with fellow Scots singer Fiona Hunter, our suitcases were lost en route. In Frankfurt’s airport pharmacy, we bought “emergency toiletries” - Fiona’s purchase went smoothly, but not mine. The pharmacist insisted that I had the “wrong” toiletries (because I prefer a turquoise to a pink razor, and don’t like the sweet, flowery smelling deodorant that is traditionally marketed to women). I tried to explain in a broken combination of English and German: aren’t smells and colours for everyone?
Imagine that you’re in nursery and you’re told (perhaps by another child, or perhaps by a staff member) that you shouldn’t play with the dolls because you’re a boy, and learn, at the age of three or four, that for a boy, “feminine” interests and imagination are somehow shameful. Or that you live in a country where because you’re female, you’re not entitled to go to school, learn to read, or get a job. It’s dangerous stuff.
Before the birth of my niece, Orla, when I just knew that she was a human being, but not whether she would be male or female, I wrote this song, The Whole Rainbow, to try to express my hopes for his/her future, whatever his/her gender. It seems appropriate to share it now:
Enough ranting for one day...see you back on the road soon!
CARA AUTUMN TOUR 2015 - THE FIRST LEG Oct 26 2015
Well, it’s been a delightful start to the tour, with only a few empty seats in the wonderfully grand Rosenthal Theatre in Selb, followed by four sold out shows!
Here’s a wee picture of us performing in Frieberg on Friday night. We’ve also managed to squeeze in two spa days already - it feels a bit like a holiday! It’s so nice to take time to relax - if only I could remember to do that when I’m at home, too...
I’ve been reflecting on why it feels so good to be back on tour with Cara again, and I think, for me, it’s down to connection. As a solo artist, only occasionally performing with other musicians, I feel very lucky to have joined this band! I’ve always enjoyed being able to connect emotionally with listeners through performance, and as a shy person, performing has provided me with a really safe way to feel that I’m not alone in the world, or in my thoughts. To additionally feel connected with bandmates on stage whom I admire and respect, musically and personally, is a real privilege - and not something that I take for granted. I'm having lots of fun!
I think I’m also finding great joy in the unexpected aspects of touring - discovering new and beautiful places, and meeting the challenge of adapting to different pianos and keyboards, and varied environments both on and off stage. Food is one area where I’m not used to being so adaptable, but I’m trying hard not to be such a fusspot, and already I’ve broken beyond my pizza/pasta/rice staples to enjoy both flammkuchen (okay, that's a bit like pizza!) and goulash with knödel! And then there are the totally random events that enrich life - like, who could have foreseen, a week ago, that in Selb, I’d be serenaded by a Spanish man (Tony!) brandishing an immersion heater as a pretend microphone, and end up salsa dancing with him? Or that Hendrik was so good at darts? Every day a surprise...looking forward to the next leg of the tour.
CARA AUTUMN TOUR BLOG 2015 - PART ONE! Oct 20 2015
It’s that time of year again already! I’m sitting in Heathrow airport, half way to Germany, with some minutes to spare and lots of anticipation for the CARA autumn tour.
After a recent experience of lost luggage throughout a trip to Germany with KLM, I’m not “travelling light” - my heavy hand luggage includes what I am now willing to acknowledge are essentials for me: hair straighteners, my favourite perfume and deodorant, and enough clothing for an entire tour without my suitcase (though fingers crossed it won’t happen again!). On top of this, all the handwritten music I need to work on for the forthcoming CARA album during this tour, a couple of books, and my laptop...my arms and back are already aching! Better safe than sorry, mind :)
It’s been exciting times for CARA so far this year, as we've been developing, recording, and most recently mixing and mastering our new album, which will be released in January 2016. But not content with the frenzy of activity we’ve already had, we’ve set ourselves an extra challenge for this tour - to play one new tune from the album every night - so if you’re coming along, keep your ears open! I’m really looking forward to the challenge, to meeting up with the CARAs again, and the tour.
I’ll try to keep you posted with thoughts from the road over the coming weeks. First up tonight, though - filming a promotional video for the new album release - wish us luck!
Mailing List Newsletter September/October 2015 Sep 10 2015
Apparently there's a repeat this evening at 11.30 pm!
Mailing List Newsletter May 2015 May 01 2015
Click here to read this month's Mailing List Newsletter!
FINAL CARA BLOG AUTUMN 2014 Nov 08 2014
We’re just about to perform the last Cara gig of 2014, and the autumn tour has been populated with many enjoyable gigs, friendly audiences and a whole range of literal highs and lows - both underground and at height. It’s strange how time goes; some moments in gigs, when I’m hyper aware, seem to pass so slowly, and yet the three week tour seems to have gone by in a flash. I’ve certainly been meaning to write this blog for several days now...
Here are some of the highlights for me since I’ve last been in touch:
My first visit to a “Tropfsteinhöhle” - a cold, damp opportunity to see stalactites, stalagmites and stalagnates up close - some of them looking pretty scarily like wet, functioning internal organs. I really didn’t like the sensation of going underground in a small lift (that’s straight out of a recurring nightmare of mine) but the spectacular views in the caves more than made up for it. Here’s one of my favourite/less scary photos from down there:
I was intrigued when we stopped for a coffee at the spot (below) where the Loreley is reputed to have enchanted sailors on the Rhine by brushing her long blonde hair and singing, causing them to crash their boats and die.
Is it wrong for me to view her as a kind of role model? My hair’s a different length and shade, and I’m not intent on the death of listeners, but a little bit of enchantment along the way wouldn’t go amiss... ;)
We were made very welcome and enjoyed great hospitality from Gudrun’s mum and dad on one of our days off, and I felt completely pampered when Gudrun’s dad made me warm milk and honey to help with a cold which developed mid tour - this was a comforting taste revelation! I’m bringing the concept back to Scotland.
Gudrun’s dad also gave us a tour of a restored mill which was fascinating. The mill equipment itself was truly beautiful, and I particularly liked the “hammers” on this machine, which was used to beat all of the flour dust out of empty sacks returned to the mill by customers - and then the dust was gathered and resold again as food for animals. Very thrifty.
Yesterday, we made the most of the continuing beautiful weather on our last day off by walking up one of the hills at Oberlenningen. The hike was fairly steep (a bit of a challenge after three weeks of snoozing in the Cara-van), but the views from the summit were spectacular, there was so much sky, not to mention the splendid autumnal colours from the surrounding Swabian Alb. The journey up the hill prompted discussions on the merits of valleys and hills of the south versus the flat open landscape of the north. And if you could only choose one forever, would it be the sea or mountains? Forever indecisive, I’d want both. But if I had to choose: the sea.
There’s much more to say: Gudrun and Juergen’s first “Cara”oke experience in Kaiserslautern for Gudrun’s birthday was a hoot, and it also finally provided a chance for Rolf and I to have a wee disco dance together after talking about it for over a year. We enjoyed our live TV performance on “Kaffee oder Tee” which was quite different from our usual gigs, and the staff team there were lovely - we even ended up sampling Hallowe’en ghosts which were highly calorific on camera! I decided to bite the head off mine and leave the rest...we had another amazing therme/spa experience which included a salt water floating pool with underwater party music and psychedelic visuals projected on the ceiling and a ceremony with honey, menthol, salt scrub and lavender that finally kicked my cold away.
Reflecting on the whole tour experience this autumn, the depth and height of things seems to be a recurring theme, not only in physical terms, but metaphorical ones too. As a band, I feel we’ve been getting to know each other better, with late night philosophical discussions including what elevates us, or what elevates life for us, and touching on the edges of things that we find difficult to discuss or bring up into the light. We’ve also been using the travelling time in the van to understand each other better by listening to the music that moves and excites us as individuals.
I know that time will perform its strange stretching and bending again, and soon we’ll be back on tour in January, but already I’m looking forward in anticipation to the Cara collaborative week we’ve planned in May to work towards our next album. Hopefully we’ll be finding new depth and height in our music, too.
CARA AUTUMN TOUR BLOG 3 Oct 27 2014
I was laughing out loud then, and I’m still laughing inside now when I think about it: who could have foreseen a year ago (or even, a week ago!) that I would find myself gladly going into a “textile free” spa, and taking part in a sauna ceremony which involved being wafted with a towel, bringing down the heat from honey water on hot coals, then heading into a shower with around 30 other people, not to shower, but to smother myself in honey before sitting in a steam room for 15 minutes to let it work its antibacterial magic...dear me. Adaptability. An incredible blessing. And I’m pleased to be slowly losing my Scottish inhibitions, though I’ve still quite a way to go.
The past few days have seen us travelling through the Ruhrgebiet, where we passed this fascinating piece of public art: in large red neon letters, on top of a förderturm (a tower for digging out and bringing up coal from underground, as far as I understand):
This piqued my interest, and had me asking myself several questions: What does the artist mean love could be like? In this region where underground coal mining has been the main industry, is love being - literally - held up as something elevated, that makes life better? Or the means by which you can show your true inner self, bringing up your personal coal from out of your own depths and sharing it, using it for common good? And why is love not actually like this, why is it only how love could be, in the eyes of the artist? Are we humans able to mess love up, as well as most other things? I believe so; this piece of art made me acknowledge all the ways that love can get entangled with less positive emotions: love that can grow alongside regret, anxiety, shame, guilt, fear of future loss, resentment or the desire to control. Love that can be confusing, painful or problematic; love that could hurt another. And yet, do we not all aspire to love well, and to love better? We’ve been having some serious post gig chats so far, about the meaning and purpose of life, and learning to love well is a large part of the point of things for me, personally. So here’s hoping, as my hair continues to turn grey, that wisdom will come along with it... ;)
The gigs have been loads of fun; it’s such a pleasure to play in well run venues and meet friendly, professional staff on a daily basis. I had my first repeat gig in a venue where I played with Cara last autumn in Troisdorf; and two friends from the north of England made it all the way to the gig, which was a lovely treat for me. We shared this gig with Broom Bezzums, or one half of them (!) due to Mark’s broken wrist, but it was lovely to hear Andrew’s music again, and in particular, a beautiful new song called Fishing In Troubled Waters. We also had a great birthday celebration-come-session with the band Crosswind in a local pub afterwards. Bochum was a delight - a beautiful piano, and a lovely venue, not to mention a very friendly audience. Westoverledingen the following night felt like performing in America for some reason; maybe the barn venue itself, or the party atmosphere - and I was pleased to sample a local drink: Korn, I think it was called? You can keep me right. I like food and drink cultural exchanges! Though I also had a wee taste of home with a whisky before the night was out...Two nights ago, in a venue converted from a church in Lingen, we had a packed audience of 400 and again, a beautiful grand piano to play. And last night, in Bodenwerder, the friendliest welcome and audience, and the best pumpkin soup and vegan chilli I’ve ever tasted! I feel very lucky. Even more so, because between them, Rolf and Juergen are helping me to fight the fear and actually make back ups and updates on my computer and my iPhone! Soon I’ll achieve world domination...I’m only a few apps away ;) Speak soon!
CARA AUTUMN TOUR: LEG ONE - ALL THAT GLITTERS... Oct 20 2014
So, the story so far - sold out shows in Korbach and Hutten, another wonderful spa experience on a beautiful day and a lovely gig to end the first leg of the tour in Geislingen, preceded by a stop for ice cream in the sun! It’s not a bad life. One sleepless night (maybe I’ve a bit too much adrenaline, or maybe I had too much cola before bed last night?) has now been more than made up for with a relaxing off day.
Touring with Cara is always a learning experience for me, and not only in musical terms - here are just a few of the things I’ve learnt so far:
From Steffen and Juergen: how to open a bottle without a bottle opener!
From Rolf: you can even open a bottle with folded paper (well, Rolf can; I’ve still got to learn that bit...)
From Gudrun and Juergen: there are very many words in German for different types of shop sales - and the name for a sewing machine shop has got to be the longest real word I’ve ever seen - nähmaschinefachgeschäft, if I remember correctly.
From Hendrik: my pronunciation of the few phrases I’ve learnt in German seems to be pretty good!
If I keep learning at this rate, I’ll be a genius by the end of the tour ;)
I’ve also learned that I love “stone people” (above) which were among many interesting sculptures around the grounds of our gig in Hutten, and that Taps (Day Is Done) can be convincingly performed using a trumpet mouthpiece and a length of garden hose.
And finally, all that glitters is not gold, but it is very good fun to stay in a gold themed hotel, particularly in a group where you can compare (and even swap!) rooms - it felt like some kind of school trip...here’s a panorama shot of my room, complete with hammock, which Hendrik kindly took for me. I think mine was Aztec...see you further on down the road!
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN - CARA AUTUMN TOUR 2014 Oct 17 2014
As I jumped into the car for what seemed like the 17th errand of the day yesterday, Europe’s “Final Countdown” greeted me across the airwaves from Radio 2. And indeed, it’s only a matter of hours before the Cara Autumn 2014 tour begins in Korbach - I’m really looking forward to it!
In preparation for my time in Germany, I made two batches of pumpkin soup this week, following a recipe kindly given to me by a workshop participant at Burg Fürsteneck in September. I’m hoping to see, as last year, many pumpkins on doorsteps - they made such an impression on me that I grew my own this year...
I had forgotten that it’s not only touring that takes it out of you, it’s also the frenzied tying up of everything else in anticipation of leaving! Yet here I am, with an hour and a half to spare in Heathrow airport - plans for the next family singing workshops at Addiewell Prison now firmed up with Vox Liminis and Families Outside; tomatoes, chillies and peppers at the allotment generously watered; and two evaluation reports submitted to Creative Scotland, who funded not only the just-completed BIG Heroes Project for The BIG Project Youth Choir, but also supported my travel to perform with Cara at Dublin Irish Festival 2014. The new choir project, BIG Songs, has a focus on songwriting as well as singing, and begins the day after I return from tour, so I’m armed with lots of songwriting books to hone my own skills in the Cara van before I begin working with the talented young folk of Broomhouse.
I’ve been lucky to be able to spend time with my family this week - my mum and dad, my brand spanking new niece, Orla, her big sister and her mum and dad, and a wee babysitting sleepover for another niece and nephew. I’m storing up this family time to keep my heart warm while I’m on tour.
Yesterday evening, after gathering all the essentials for making the most of my off days (annual accounts and teal nail polish), and enjoying American style pepperoni pizza and jalapenos at Pizza Express (the one flavour I crave when I’m in Germany!), I had my final rehearsal for a few weeks with the church choir I conduct at Sacred Heart in Edinburgh. We’re tackling a tricky mass at the moment, and were delighted to welcome three new members - so hastily sent late night emails with MP3s of vocal parts will hopefully do the job while I’m away - I look forward to hearing the results on my return!
All good. Bring on the tour!
Mice, mushrooms and random acts of senseless kindness Nov 07 2013
We're now on the final leg of the Cara tour, after a lovely off day at the amazing Parkhotel Heidehof in Ingolstadt. A proper treat, with indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms and a great jacuzzi. Two more gigs, and then I'll be flying home - so this seems like a good time to reflect on the whole experience. It's not something I do often; usually I'm so busy doing things that I don't stop to think about them much.
During a long, rainy journey to Ansfelden in Austria yesterday, we were using the time to brighten the journey by sharing music we’re really passionate about - and I was pleased to let my bandmates hear the fantastic songs of Anais Mitchell and Karine Polwart. For me, the most exciting recordings I’ve heard on the tour were Gillian Welch and Dreamer’s Circus. But I was also reminded yesterday of how much I love Kate Rusby’s music - and one of the lyrics (from the song Withered and Died) really captured the tour for me - “kind words in my ear, kind faces to see”.
Perhaps this wee photo will also help to explain. This is a handcrafted wooden mouse, gifted to me by an audience member a few nights ago (he had made mushrooms for the boys and mice for the girls!). It's one of several presents I've received over the course of the Cara tour. These little “random acts of senseless kindness” (as I think Oprah Winfrey coined them years ago) can make all the difference. But it’s not only the audiences...
This is my first experience of being in a band on a long tour, and while I have been pining for home, I feel truly privileged to have joined a group where not only are the musicians super talented, but they are also kind. Ryan's daft antics in the van have distracted me from feeling too homesick, while Rolf's interesting conversations have helped to pass long journeys, as well as educate me on all the fact-related stuff that is a completely different world from the one I normally inhabit. Steffen the sound engineer’s polite warmth and friendly smile is combined with a good ear - not only for the gig but for what people have to say - while Juergen's quiet words of reassurance and encouragement have given me more confidence. And Gudrun seems to have an intuition (or good perception?) where she understands how people are feeling, combined with a compassionate nature where she uses that knowledge for good. In an experience which I was apprehensively stepping into the unknown, I’ve felt safe and cared for as a result.
I’m feeling like a very lucky girl, to have this opportunity. Roll on January!
The lap of luxury and a missing piper... Oct 31 2013
Here's a photo from the sumptuous "Parktheater im Kurhaus, Goeggingen" in Augsburg last night; I don't think I've ever seen a more ornate establishment! And the hotel Villa Arborea was fantastic too, with the friendliest staff on the tour to date. Steffen, our talented sound engineer, did a great job (as always), making for a most enjoyable day all round. But the mystery remains, what happened to our mysterious piper, Ryan Murphy, directly after the gig? As the queue for Ryan's autograph continued to build, several band members made the search...fortunately, we did retrieve him in time to sample good company and a local dark beer in the nearby hostelry before retiring to bed - how do the Germans make duvets so well? Are they available for import to the UK? Sleeping is just so much better in German bedding.
Circus Wagons and Saunas Oct 23 2013
As we embark on the third leg of the Cara tour (we've decided that the tour has five legs and a tail...) I have to say that I'm having a wealth of new experiences.
On Friday of last week I played the harpsichord (above) for the first time in Lichtenfels, thanks to a kindly stage manager, and in the beautifully quirky venue in Kaiserhammer, Helmut, our host, accommodated me in a circus wagon (see below!), as well as running up to the wagon (in fields high above the venue) in the dark very late at night to light me a fire in the stove. I've been trying many new foods, which for those of you who know me well, is a big achievement. During some days off I've been lucky enough to sample home cooking from Juergen and Gudrun, including spinach and meat filled "mouth pockets" which were delicious, and a hearty bean and pork belly stew accompanied by apple and cinnamon pancakes.
Finally, there's the whole sauna experience. Having now spent two days relaxing in German "Saunalands", I'm still struggling with my own prudish attitude towards nudity! I'm keeping my towel firmly wrapped around me. And yet there appears to a whole country of people of all ages and sizes who don't have any issues with their own bodies, or with nakedness. Is it just me? Is it a Scottish thing? Answers, please...
If you'd like to catch a Cara concert live, we're trying to stream the Cara reunion gig this Saturday, which is celebrating 10 years of the band and many different line ups: you can check it out here: http://www.cara-music.com/live
All the little sunbursts! Oct 18 2013
If you know my song, All The Little Sunbursts, then you'll know how much I appreciate little things that make life better... wifi has been scarce, but quite apart from really enjoying the gigs, there have been plenty of sunbursts along the journey with CARA since I've been in touch last (not only the real one, below): a fantastic session after the gig in Troisdorf in an Irish bar with the support band, Crosswind; having the time to listen to all my favourite Tori Amos songs; the gorgeous town of Niederstetten with a beautiful river walk; a hotel boasting a sauna and steam room (they really know how to do these well!); the finest dining I may have ever eaten (lamb with rosemary, green beans and potatoes to die for), and a friendly physiotherapist whose massage has rendered my back freer than it's been in years...I really can't complain. And now I can bend over with the rest of the band to take a bow!
CARA Up North Oct 13 2013
We're in the north of Germany at the moment, which feels a lot like home in many ways - sheep, heather, Scots pine trees - but in others, it's so different: fields of sweetcorn (used for green energy and causing a lot of controversy here) and asparagus, windmills, and flat, open landscapes. The sun came out this morning and the drive to Rolf's house for lunch was truly beautiful.
Last night, we played in another unusual venue - an old smokehouse converted to a farming museum - and I was surrounded by interesting objects, each with a story, translated by Gudrun. Here's my favourite from the night - tackety boots! Not unlike my own...
CARA Gig One - The Palmhouse Oct 11 2013
Last night I played my first gig in the band, Cara, in a fantastic venue in Bad Pyrmont - a palmhouse, where palm trees overwinter out of the cold. During the summer months when the palms are happy outside, the town council have turned this very tall greenhouse into a music venue.
We had a very friendly welcome, and a good first gig together, followed by a beautiful Italian meal in the town. There's a tree lined avenue right outside my hotel room, where the ground is strewn with fallen conkers, which makes me feel very much at home! I've picked out a beauty for future conker matches...
Looking forward to the second gig - perhaps I'll nail the 7/8 jazzy piano solo tonight! :)
Final Day of Cara Prep! Oct 09 2013
Today we did a full soundcheck and rehearsal in the local arts centre in Esslingen, and everything's coming together nicely!
Went for an amazingly cheap meal at at the Asian Wok, where I may have had the best beef curry ever...and the fortune cookie after dinner says "One has to celebrate the party as it comes" - so here's looking forward to the tour!
Actually, I brought a few fortune cookie messages from my mum and dad's Italian chocolate stash...they're written in German as well as several other languages, so I'm hoping to impress my German bandmates during the tour with unexpected moments of wisdom, in German! If I can read them in the stage lighting...
Day Two! Oct 08 2013
Today we've worked through all the pieces in the set, and tonight we set up in the local arts centre for a full on stage sound rehearsal tomorrow - but that's not what I want to tell you about! I'm really enjoying finding all the gadgets and machines which make everyday life different in Germany.
Bottles of water, purchased in crates, can be recycled at the entrance to the supermarket, which gobbles up the whole crateful of bottles in one smooth motion and in return gives you a credit note towards your shopping.
When buying your fresh coffee beans, there's a machine inside the supermarket for you to grind your own beans, and a cellotape dispenser for you to reseal your purchase.
And in the Cara house, I'm getting kitchen gadget envy! A beautiful dried chilli grinder, and the most impressive of all, below - a hand operated bread slicer. How to fit this into my suitcase for the journey home?
Day one of CARA prep! Oct 07 2013
It's the first CARA rehearsal day before my first tour with the band! And as soon as I get my head round counting in 7/8 everything's going to be fab!!!
Flew out in the early evening last night and the view from the plane was glorious, a proper comfort blanket of clouds...
Fringe Review 2013 Aug 28 2013
It was a delight to see so many familiar faces at my Fringe gig on Saturday night, and to get back to performing after the hiatus of the past few months' post-op recovery time. On top of that, we managed to raise a total of £460 for Amnesty International, between song request donations and a raffle of goods from the very generous business folk of Stockbridge.
Click here for a lovely review of the show from Broadway Baby.
Castle FM - 98.8 FM Aug 07 2013
Tonight I'll be performing live on Castle FM to promote my Fringe show on 24th August - listen in from 7.30 pm on 98.8 FM or listen online here.
BBC Pink Tent at Edinburgh Festival Aug 06 2013
I've an impromptu performance at BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals Pink Tent near Bristo Square this afternoon at 5.15 pm - come along for a sneak preview of my Fringe show on 24th August!
A few years back, as part of the Seven Short Sails project, I wrote a song called "A Leaf For A Sail", which helped me at a time of grief and loss. It was inspired by a beautiful poem by John Glenday, as part of a creative Chinese Whispers project led by Pat Law. You can investigate the whole project here - I'm part of Sail 6.
Recently, a kindly mailing list member got in touch to tell me that her talented son Laurence and his friend Thomas made little boats on the West Coast last summer with leaves as sails...it's very comforting to know that it is possible.
Video of Fragile on YouTube Mar 15 2013
I've grasped hold of my fear of all things technical and uploaded another bit of footage to YouTube...Fragile, as performed at The Ornate Lie album launch, can be watched here.
Now, I just have to resolve my Hotmail/Outlook changeover challenges, and buy a new printer, and everything's going to be fine...
SPIRAL EARTH AWARDS 2013 - BEST ALBUM! Jan 22 2013
I'm honoured that The Ornate Lie has been nominated as "Best Album" in the Spiral Earth Awards 2013 - in some fine company indeed, alongside Jim Moray, Kirsty McGee and the Levellers!
If you'd like to check out the awards, click on the link below - it's open to a public vote (which closes on 14th March), and if you'd like to vote for the album, your support would be much appreciated!
I'm trying to get over my fear of all things technical and have just (I think!) made my first upload to YouTube! It's some footage of Heavy Skies from Hazy Recollections at Celtic Connections 2012.
Click here to watch the video, and do let me know if it doesn't work!
Well Worn - a home demo Sep 28 2012
Are you lucky enough to have experienced love that fits like a comfy shoe? Have a listen to a home recording of "Well Worn" here, a new song extolling the benefits...
The BIG Project on The One Show this Friday! May 17 2012
The BIG Project's children's choir will be featured on The One Show, this Friday night, 18th May 2012, at 7 pm. Watch out for us during a feature all about the Olympic Torch - in Edinburgh, we'll be part of the Castle Celebrations when the Torch comes to rest in Edinburgh for the night. They're covering the whole journey of the torch across Britain so It may all be over in a flash, but who knows!
For more information about The BIG Project, a youth and children's charity based in Broomhouse, Edinburgh, visit www.thebigproject.org.uk
The BIG Project kids choir to perform at Edinburgh Castle! May 08 2012
The kids choir that I lead at The BIG Project have been invited to perform part of our BIG Breakthrough show for the Olympic Torch Celebrations at Edinburgh Castle on Wednesday 13th June - it's a real honour, and very exciting - we'll be sharing the bill with Emeli Sande!
We'll be joined by Karine Polwart and a host of talented musicians, to perform two ten minute sets featuring a potted version of the Breakthrough piece which I wrote specifically about the Olympic and Paralympic values, and we'll also perform my song, "8, 9, 10", Karine's song "I'm Gonna Do It All" and "Moving On Up" by Primal Scream.
Tickets became available to the public this morning - they're only 80p per ticket and you can get up to 6 tickets per household, if you fancy coming along, by phoning 08444999990 or going online to www.ticketmaster.co.uk - if you search for Emeli Sande in the top button it's the first gig to come up!
More lovely reviews for The Ornate Lie Apr 27 2012
Here are some further reviews for The Ornate Lie - I'm really pleased with the responses so far!
"A persuasive second album, with strong melodic hooks paired to bittersweet musings, shafts of optimism and some Angela Carter moments when the mirror cracks and the bitter stuff of fairytales seeps through." Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman - read the full review here.
"Kim Edgar raises the bar from where her acclaimed debut album left off...intense and thought provoking...surely public acclaim must follow soon." Kyle McCaig, The List - read the full review here.
"Kim Edgar towers above the contemporaries in her genre, whatever that actually is." Lindsay Hutton, The Next Big Thing Blogspot - read the full review here.
And finally, a review from Jonathon Roscoe for Shire Folk:
"If you surround yourself with some of the finest talent Scotland has to offer, as Kim Edgar’s done on her second album, The Ornate Lie, it can go one of two ways - a musical porridge with no discernible flavour or a finely nuanced concoction made from the finest ingredients. Happily this falls firmly into the latter category. Edgar is joined by Karine Polwart, Mattie Foulds, Inge Thomson, Corrina Hewat and Steven Polwart amongst others and between them they’ve managed to produce one of the best releases of the year so far.
Despite looking not unlike Sharleen Spiteri, rather than go for the crowd-pleasing FM rock of Texas, Edgar goes more for the understated finesse of a Scottish Aimee Mann. With sensitive songs, strong melodies and well observed lyrics about such difficult subjects as mortality, child neglect and the objectification of women. It does the album a disservice to pick out particular tracks, but honourable mentions must go to Blood, Ice & Ashes (already a stand-out track on Side Show, by The Burns Unit, of which she’s also a member along with Karine Polwart and Mattie Foulds), The Steamy Note with its repeated assertion that “What is left is love”, the emotive title track and the light relief that is All The Little Sunbursts.
Hopefully after a well-received first album, The Ornate Lie will be the one that makes the break through to a wider audience."
Burnsong Gathering 2012 Apr 17 2012
There's currently a fantastic opportunity for songwriters through Burnsong (the organisation celebrating the legacy of Robert Burns by nurturing and supporting Scottish songwriting since 2005 - and 'creating' The Burns Unit in the process!).
Please see below for more info:
Scots songwriters offered the chance of joining the UK Songwriting Festival — to be held for the first time in Galloway in August 2012.
The Gathering 2012 is an invitation to submit new Scottish songs, which will be assessed by an expert panel before the winning songwriters are invited to join the UK Songwriting Festival to hone their skills in a week of intensive support and tuition.
Bath Spa University, the home of Europe’s only Masters degree in songwriting, will bring their distinguished tutors including Joe Bennett, Boo Hewerdine, Jez Ashurst, Andy White and Ivor Novello-nominated Snow Patrol collaborator Iain Archer, to Scotland for the first time for a five-day intensive songwriting boot camp which will take place at Shennanton House in rural Galloway between August 12th and August 17th 2012. All participants will then, over two gigs in Bladnoch Distillery, showcase what has been achieved with their fresh new songs premiered to an invited audience.
Submissions will be accepted until 12 Noon on Saturday May 12th. The selection and judging process will take place between May 14th and 18th with winners notified and announced thereafter.
You can find out more at www.burnsong.org and read the full details about the competition by clicking here. Good luck!
Sunday Herald and Scotland On Sunday Reviews Apr 02 2012
I was very pleased to have two lovely reviews yesterday in advance of the release of The Ornate Lie today - you can read the Sunday Herald review by Alan Morrison here and the Scotland On Sunday review by Norman Chalmers here.
I have to say I'm more than a little pleased to be called Scotland's "very own Tori Amos!" (Sunday Herald) and that the songs "continue their tug at the heart and head after the CD ends." (Scotland On Sunday).
The Ornate Lie video shown at Wembley! Mar 29 2012
On Tuesday night, my friend, Stone, from the Taiwanese alternative rock band Mayday, played the music video that I recently made in collaboration with the talented teenagers of "Scatterbox" on the big screens at Wembley Arena - read all about it, and find out more about Scatterbox by clicking here!
What a week! The BIG Breakthrough, Album Launch Party and my new music video! Mar 22 2012
Yesterday, I had the privilege of performing in the Usher Hall alongside a host of talented folk, including The BIG Project's youth choir, Mary Ann Kennedy & Inverness Gaelic Choir, Sangstream, Cappella Nova, Karine Polwart and tons of fantastic musicians for The BIG Breakthrough - a singing celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic values, which many Edinburgh schools attended as part of their celebrations this year, along with members of the public. With over a thousand folk singing along to celebrate great values like friendship, respect and determination, it was definitely a feel good day!
I'm now looking forward to the launch of my new album, The Ornate Lie, this Saturday, at St. Mark's Artspace - find out more about by clicking here. Also, a music video for the title track (filmed by some talented teenagers who formed a film company called Scatterbox) is now available on YouTube! You can view it by clicking here...
What a fun week! I love my job.
First review for The Ornate Lie - Spiral Earth! Mar 17 2012
It's a bit scary waiting to hear what people think of my new album, The Ornate Lie, but I'm delighted that my first review from David Kushar at Spiral Earth is lovely - check it out here!
Songwriter of the week! BBC Radio Scotland Mar 12 2012
I'm extremely honoured to be "songwriter of the week" on the Iain Anderson show, so listen out for tracks from my forthcoming album, The Ornate Lie, as well as songs from my debut, butterflies and broken glass, this week on BBC Radio Scotland - or click here to listen again for the seven days following each broadcast.
Raining In Glasgow! Feb 07 2012
Hear Kim and Arthur Nicholson accompany Dean Owens for "Raining In Glasgow" at BBC Radio Scotland on Another Country with Ricky Ross, as part of Celtic Connections 2012, by clicking here.
Kim performs on BBC Radio Scotland this Friday Jan 26 2012
Tomorrow night, I'll be playing piano and singing backing vocals for Dean Owens on BBC Radio Scotland, on Another Country with Ricky Ross from 8.05 pm - 10 pm. Listen out!
Dean and I are also both playing at Hazy Recollections this Sunday, 29th January at 2.30 pm, ABC, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow - for full gig details see gigs page here.
Take part in the premier of The BIG Breakthrough! Commission Jan 02 2012
In celebration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I'm delighted to have been commissioned by Celtic Connections and The Usher Hall, Edinburgh (with support from Creative Scotland) to create an exciting new piece of music celebrating the Olympic and Paralympic values - excellence, friendship, respect, determination, courage, equality and inspiration.
It's an unusual piece in that I'm hoping that you, the audience, will help to perform it! So to find out more about the audience singing and body percussion role, check out my wee YouTube video here, and learn some parts of the commission in advance of the concert from myself and The BIG Project's children's choir.
The piece is centred around the children's choir that I help to lead at The BIG Project in Broomhouse, but actually features five fantastic singing groups (representing the Olympic rings!)...if you'd like to find out more about them, you can click on their names below:
The premier of the commission, Breakthrough, takes place as part of an hour-long show in celebration of the Olympics and Paralympics, called The BIG Breakthrough! on Monday 23rd January, with a free schools concert at 11 am in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and an evening performance at 7 pm in the Mitchell Library.
There will also be an Edinburgh performance of the piece at The Usher Hall on Wednesday 21st March 2012, at 1.15 pm.
Check out the gigs page for further information! I'd love to see you there...
The BIG Project children's choir on Children In Need, Friday 18th November Nov 09 2011
Watch out for children and young people from The BIG Project, Broomhouse (where I lead a children's choir) singing live in a massed choir on BBC Children in Need on Friday 18th November, and on the Scottish Children In Need show on Saturday 19th November. There's even a wee feature about when Gareth Malone came out and taught our choir recently...they've been working really hard!
I'm delighted to have been given a lovely five star review for my solo show at St. Mark's ArtSpace last Friday, 5th August - you can read the review here.
NAU NUA Interview Aug 09 2011
I've recently been interviewed for a lovely Spanish arts magazine, Nau Nua - so if you'd like a wee insight into my songwriting, in the English edition of the magazine, please click here.
The Royal Opening of the Scottish Parliament! Jun 30 2011
I'm delighted to say I'll be performing two songs with Karine Polwart and Kirsty Grace tomorrow, for the Royal opening of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood! I'm accompanying them for one traditional and one contemporary song on piano, and singing backing vocals...nervous, me?
You can follow the broadcast live from 9.45 am on BBC 2.
The Burns Unit on Later With Jools Holland! May 06 2011
The Burns Unit (a band I’m - check us out at www.theburnsunitband.com )has been invited to perform on "Later With Jools Holland" on BBC Two.
We rehearse in London on Monday 16th May, and perform in a half-hour live show on Tuesday 17th May (10 pm), as well as recording a show which will be aired on Friday 20th May at 11.35 pm. I’m very excited!
Best Debut Nomination for The Burns Unit Dec 16 2010
The Burns Unit has been nominated in the Best Debut category in the Spiral Earth Awards. It's an online vote that anyone can access. Here is a link if you fancy voting:
The Burns Unit on Travelling Folk, BBC Radio Scotland Oct 07 2010
Just a short note to let you know that a wee cohort from The Burns Unit (myself, Karine Polwart, King Creosote and Future Pilot AKA) will be performing a live session of songs from our debut album, Side Show, on Travelling Folk, this November 4th, on BBC Radio Scotland from 8 - 10 pm.
Cheers for now!
The BIG Sing-a-long! 2 pm Thursday 12th August at Queen's Hall, Edinburgh Aug 10 2010
Only a couple of days now 'til The BIG Project's children's choir event - and I'm delighted to say that we've had two last minute additions to our band (Mattie Foulds on drums, Steven Polwart on guitar, Lorna Thomas on bass and myself on piano).
At the Queen's Hall this Thursday, 12th August at 2pm, award winning songwriter Karine Polwart will be joining us on vocals, as will the lovely singer/songwriter Yvonne Lyon. A veritable feast!
Rehearsals with the young people have been going really well, I'm very excited and looking forward to the event. Hopefully see some of you there, it's heartwarming, uplifting stuff. Full info for tickets on the gigs page.
Songs we'll be performing include Karine's inspirational "I'm Gonna Do It All", Ron Sexsmith's "There's Gold In Them Hills" and Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror". We've got some fantastic young singers, I'm feeling very proud...
The Burns Unit BBC Blog Site performance Aug 03 2010
This weekend past, The Burns Unit had a great time at Cambridge Folk Festival - click here to catch some of our cohort here chatting to Mark Radcliffe and performing "Sorrys".
Hopefully see you in Glasgow ABC tomorrow or Edinburgh Queen's Hall on Monday 9th August!
Cheers for now,
The Burns Unit: Side Show released today! Aug 02 2010
I'm delighted to say that The Burns Unit band release our debut album, Side Show, today, on exclusive license to Proper Music Distribution. It's a very varied album that has grown out of a fantastic songwriting retreat back in 2006, and is a little bit genre defying - so far, some of the best descriptions I've read have been "an indie-folk love in", "kaleidoscopic" , "baroque pop" and "Bollywood punk".
To hear for yourself, head on over here where you can listen to and buy the album if you like it as much as we do! And in case you're not familiar with the project, "we" is myself, award winning songwriter Karine Polwart, ex-Delgados rock goddes Emma Pollock, dub and grime rapper MC Soom T, musical maverick Future Pilot AKA, alt-royalty, King Creosote, along with two Canadians - energetic piano man Michael Johnston and outstanding drummer/producer Mattie Foulds. We've just had a fantastic weekend performing at Cambridge Folk Festival and are looking forward to gigs at Glasgow's ABC this Wednesday and Edinburgh's Queen's Hall next Monday - check out the gig page for full details, it would be great to see you there! And keep your eyes on www.theburnsunitband.com, we've got lots of ideas in the pipeline for the future....
The BIG Sing-a-long! at the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh Jun 30 2010
This very special Edinburgh Fringe event promises fun for all the family! Lift the roof off the Queen’s Hall at this interactive sing-a-long show.
The show takes place on Thursday 12th August, from 2 - 3 pm.
I'll be accompanying the BIG Project’s children’s choir, who will teach you hits by Westlife, Kings Of Leon, Michael Jackson and the Glee cast, action/world songs, body percussion and more. Also joining me are Mattie Foulds (drums), Steven Polwart (guitar) and Lorna Thomas (bass).
Listen, join in, laugh, sing and be moved.
Tickets are £5/3 - full details on the gigs page!
Brought to you by The BIG Project: supporting children and young people to learn, achieve, have fun and feel good about themselves. To find out more, visit: www.thebigproject.org.uk
House On The Hill Apr 12 2010
House On The Hill is continuing its journey into the world...
Click on the following links to check out reviews for the song as recorded on Emma Pollock's lovely new album, The Law Of Large Numbers, and in her live sets.
Live review at King Tut's, Glasgow click here.
Live review at The Duchess, York click here.
It's exciting to hear a new version of our co-write - I recorded the piano and backing vocals on the track, and there is a fantastic string arrangement, too - you can listen to a wee sample at iTunes or download it there!
I hope you enjoy the song in its new incarnation! You can find out more about the rest of the album and Emma at www.emmapollock.com.
Cheers for now,
NEWFANGLED FOLK REVIEW! Mar 31 2010
Newfangled Folk has received its first review in The Scotsman! We're delighted to be described as "an enjoyably absorbing night" with "a wealth of lovely backing harmonies".
On Thursday, myself and Yvonne Lyon were interviewd about our new venture and tour (along with David Ferrard), Newfangled Folk, on Archie Fisher's Travelling Folk, where they played a track from each of our latest albums.
We also got a mention on Iain Anderson's show on Thursday night, and he played Heavy Skies. If you'd like to hear either broadcast, you can listen again for the next few days by clicking here.
Looking forward to the tour, hopefully see some of you there!
NEWFANGLED FOLK Feb 02 2010
Myself, David Ferrard and Yvonne Lyon are going to be touring across Scotland shortly as "NewFangled Folk" - presenting our own original songs alongside Scots and American folk songs. We hope you can join us!
SPRING TOUR DATES
March 18 - The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
March 19 - Peter Potter Gallery, East Lothian
March 20 - House Concert, Fife
March 26 - The Lot, Edinburgh (as part of Edinburgh’s Ceilidh Culture)
March 27 - Sounds In The Suburbs, Glasgow
(This gig will be in candlelight to mark WWF's Earth Hour: http://scotland.wwf.org.uk)
April 1 - Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
May 3 - Red Rooms, Perth
For full details, please see the gigs page.
PEARL AND THE PUPPETS SUPPORT - GEORGE SQUARE Dec 16 2009
I've been asked to support Pearl And The Puppets tomorrow night in George Square, Glasgow, so sorry for the short notice but would be great to see some friendly faces there!
I'll be on from 7 - 7.30 pm, let's keep fingers crossed for lovely weather...
Radio Scotland - Burnsong Nov 24 2009
This week, the winning songwriters in the Burnsong Gathering 2009 are hidden away for their songwriting retreat, before their performance in the Scottish Parliament on St. Andrew's Day.
I'll be speaking about the Burnsong project and my experiences in the Songhouse on the Radio Cafe this lunchtime from 1.30pm - and also talking with Julie Fowlis and Simon Thoumire about approaches to songwriting.
Hope you can tune in!
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SONG Jul 02 2009
A few years back, I entered a competition which really changed the path I was taking in my life.
The Burnsong Gathering in 2005 was a national songwriting competition, where the prize for myself and sixteen other selected songwriters was a week of focusing only on songs - we were tutored in songwriting and wrote songs each day. At night, we had the chance to listen to some fantastic songwriters performing, which was really inspiring. This gift of time to focus on songwriting alone was a bit like fertiliser for me, leading to more songs and, in my opinion, better ones too. It made me decide to give up my teaching job and devote my time to writing, recording and performing songs. And I'm very happy with the journey so far.
So I wanted to let you know that if you've got any new songs that you're ready to share with the world, I'd highly recommend the Burnsong Gathering 2009 - this year, an international songwriting competition - looking for songs of hope and optimism, friendship and freedom. If the week's retreat (the prize which will be offered to 12 songwriters) is anything like the one I experienced, you'd love it!
It's all about the song - and about celebrating the anniversary of our national bard, Robert Burns, by nurturing and encouraging songwriting in Scotland.
You can find out more about this competition, and the whole Burnsong project, by visiting www.burnsong.org
Kim Edgar, Yvonne Lyon, & David Ferrard Feb 14 2009
Last year, I met a couple of songwriters whom I’ve been pleased to work with since – David Ferrard, an Edinburgh based songwriter with whom I shared a Scottish showcase room at The Folk Alliance, Memphis, Tennessee, and Yvonne Lyon, a fantastic songwriter from the west who I’ve recently been collaborating with after being put in touch by our mutual friend, Karine Polwart.
This year, we’ve decided to work together as a trio, writing and performing, and see what happens! So we’ll be debuting at Edinburgh’s Ceilidh Culture Festival, performing on Saturday 18th April at 8pm in The Lot, Grassmarket. Tickets and further information are available from www.ceilidhculture.co.uk or on 0131 221 3390.
Shetland Hogmanay 2008
It was a real joy to return to Shetland again this year for Hogmanay, and to once again receive a warm welcome from local friends Yvonne and John Robert. This year, my wellies featured heavily, with snow and rain on the cards – I even wore them during a session at The Lounge! I won’t forget seeing four orcas at Sumburgh Head and the many beautiful skies, the fantastic food prepared and shared (the salted beef and bannocks after midnight were amazing!) and the outdoor speakers providing stories and songs well into the night at the Shetland Museum!
The Burns Unit Jan 05 2009
I’m delighted that my Burnsong Songhouse companions, with whom I spent a fantastic week songwriting back in December 2006, have decided to form a band! We’re called the Burns Unit, and we feature:
Karine Polwart, Emma Pollock, MC Soom T, myself, Future Pilot AKA, King Creosote, Michael Johnston, and Mattie Foulds on the drums!
We have our debut performance as an official band at Celtic Connections on January 16th at The ABC on Sauchiehall Street – tickets from www.celticconnections.com
Straight after that, we’re off to a fantastic studio in rural Midlothian, to record an album, which will be tons of fun!
I’ve just been informed that “Red”, the first track from “butterflies and broken glass” has made the A-list for playlisting on SIBC, Shetland’s fantastic radio station! Very pleased to think part of me is up there just now, I had such a fantastic time there over Hogmanay 2006, can’t wait to return. . . .
north american folk alliance, 20 - 24 february 2008 Feb 20 2008
What a mad week! I’ve had a great time at the Folk Alliance, meeting industry professionals from North America and across the world, showcasing “butterflies and broken glass” with endless gigs into the wee small hours, and getting the chance to hear some outstanding performers - highlights for me were jim photoglo, vienna teng, the refugees and rachel reis. Makes me want to get home and practise. . .
radio 2 new songwriters academy, bristol 7 - 9 february 2008 Feb 07 2008
I was delighted to be among 15 songwriters invited to bristol this weekend for a songwriters academy - a chance to collaborate and work to a deadline with other songwriters under the tutelage of Glen Skinner, to perform our songs in an open-mic dinner, and to receive feedback from industry professionals on our songwriting. Sacha Skarbek, who wrote “You’re Beautiful” with James Blunt, was generous in sharing his experiences and his approaches to writing and to the industry, and we also benefitted from industry and legal advice. “where there’s a hit there’s a writ!” is one phrase I won’t forget, and also a fantastic joke about a family of balloons. . . I hope there will be a few collaborations in the future with some of the songwriters I met there, lots of inspiring folk from across the UK.
I’ve been having a ball! Hired a Bosendorfer for a week, to record in a beautiful location - heriot toun studio in the borders, a beautiful live/work space designed for artists which was a joy to record in - check it out at www.heriot-toun.co.uk
Many thanks to the Scottish Arts Council for their funding support towards the costs of the album - it’s been a real treat to work with a range of outstanding musicians, engineers, and producers. Listen out for news of the new album, Butterflies and Broken Glass in the coming months!
The burnsong songhouse, dumfries, december 2006 Dec 30 2006
i was lucky enough to be invited by dumfries and galloway arts association to participate in the burnsong songhouse, getting to stay in the amazing “house on the shore” near dumfries with the lovely people above: emma pollock, karine polwart, mc soom t, michael johnston, sushil k dade, (future pilot aka), king creosote (kenny anderson) and also chris difford (not pictured as he was already on the way to another burnsong gig!)
it was a fantastic experience - writing, and then performing with such lovely, and talented, folk. please click here to read my daily blog about the experience.
if you don’t already know their music,
i’d highly recommend checking out my fellow housemates below: