Link to Living Tradition Homepage





KARINE POLWART Here’s Where Tomorrow Starts (DVD)

KARINE POLWART Here’s Where Tomorrow Starts (DVD)
Proper Films Ltd PFILMS002

The title of Karine’s first-ever DVD is both entirely truthful and intentionally prophetic; it both consolidates Karine’s writing and performing successes to date and ushers in a new era of creative evolution (her fifth CD is due late this summer, and promises exciting developments). It also happens to be one of the most successful DVDs in its capturing the essence of the performer without blatant self-congratulation or pushy overblown promotion or irrelevant gimmickry.
It basically takes the form of a relaxed tour, led by Karine herself “out on a walk”, of the verdant rolling Scottish Borders landscape around the (artist’s) studio she uses, and interspersing footage of as-live performances of her songs, either in the light, airy studio itself or outdoors. Those in the latter category include a marvellous solo performance of Salter’s Road (with guitar in hand, wandering along the road itself) that resonates with Karine’s connection with the local landscape and its history, and a magnificent, resonant rendition of Tongue That Cannot Lie, shruti-box in hand, sheltering by a stone wall.
In all the 86-minute DVD contains 17 purely musical selections, the majority of which are complete performances of songs from Karine’s repertoire (sadly, Tongue That Cannot Lie, arguably Karine’s standout performance here, is an exception, being broken up by a discourse on Thomas The Rhymer). Mostly these are Karine’s own compositions, and much of her finest writing is included, with suitably loving and intricate readings of Follow The Heron, Waterlily, Daisy, Rags To Riches, Faultlines, Medusa, Tinsel Snow and Terminal Star. Along the way she also brings in a choice item from her work with the Darwin Song Project (We’re All Leaving) and one from her stint with the Burns Unit (Now Westlin Winds). And Karine’s in superb vocal form throughout. There are also some tantalising mere snippets of The Sun’s Coming Over The Hill and Dave Goulder’s January Man…

On the in-studio performances, Karine enjoys the company of her now-regular simpatico team: brother Steven on guitars and accordionist/percussionist Inge Thomson; recently-acquired additional musical collaborator, inventive percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir, joins in the fun on several songs too. The music-making is both natural and easy-going yet sometimes quite intricately woven in terms of texture; the musicianship and individual dexterity is sparkling, and the informal camerawork (much of it hand-held) is both apt and entirely in tune with the performance style. As well as the main studio-located performances, there are priceless smaller-scale moments filmed within other rooms of the house: three songs (Blood, Ice & Ashes; Now Westlin Winds; and The Learig) feature Karine singing accompanied by Kim Edgar and her piano, and a carefree, nicely chummy, uke-accompanied rendition of I’m Gonna Do It All seems to have been captured in a wee bedroom!

For all its inclusivity and accessibility, Karine’s is still an intimate world, and this DVD transports us right inside that world, warmly inviting us to share its delights entirely without pretension and giving the viewer gentle insights into Karine’s writing and philosophy. Drawing us in right from the start and holding us under the spell, it’s both a truly lovely film and a keenly-realised and involving representation of Karine’s personality. I’ve always loved Karine’s songs, but this film very possibly makes me love them even more.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.