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CD: Karine Polwart – Laws of Motion | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Karine Polwart – Laws of Motion

CD: Karine Polwart – Laws of Motion

Powerful new songs on movement and migration from the award-winning singer

Karine Polwart has a stellar track record as a pop and folk songwriter and interpreter of traditional songs, from Malinky through a solo career that has garnered six BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including Folk Singer Of The Year 2018.

Her new album follows one of the most ambitious projects of her career so far, Wind Resistance, a critically acclaimed debut work for theatre exploring midwifery, ecology, sanctuary and solidarity and recently shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year.

Laws of Motion proves more than a match, opening with the beguiling and beautiful "Ophelia", and the title track that follows it, an empathic and affecting song about migration written with Lau’s Martin Green following their collaboration on 2015’s Flit. The album features her regular trio of Inge Thomson on accordion and percussion, and brother Steven Polwart on guitars, and its strong, empathic songs are as full and rounded as the globe itself. She’s one of contemporary Scottish folk’s finest songwriters – and that’s a crowded field. 

There are two other co-writes with Martin Green, "Suitcase", about the Kindertransport network which rescued German Jews before the second World War, and "Matsuo's Welcome To Muckhart", set in a beautiful Japanese garden in Clackmannanshire (which has recently reopened), established by a Scottish adventureress, Ella Christie, and tended by one Shinzaburo Matsuo, who made his home there after he lost his family in Japan’s Great Earthquake of 1923. It's a strange and singular tale beautifully told.

While there has been no shortage of artists of all kinds taking on President Trump, Polwart ratchets it up a peg or two on "I Burn but I Am Not Consumed" by giving (grumbling) voice to the ancient strata of rock that lies below the Isle of Lewis – the home of his maternal grandmother. It’s one of the two spoken-word pieces here, along with "Cassiopeia" (about nuclear warfare), and a darkly funny take on how even the Earth revolts at the antics of the White House incumbent. 

Karine Polwart is on tour with her trio from 17 October


@CummingTim : Tim Cumming's website

Its strong, empathic songs are as full and rounded as the globe itself


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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