5th November 

From dawn to dusk with... Karine Polwart 

Nadine McBay


FOLLOWING her debut theatre production Wind Resistance, which opened at last year’s Edinburgh International Festival and earned her multiple award nominations, singer-songwriter Karine Polwart releases A Pocket Of Wind Resistance, the musical companion to the production, on November 17. Following a run of shows through October, she’s currently performing A Pocket Of Wind Resistance as part of a residency at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, which runs until November 11. 

Like the theatre production, the album is informed by Polwart’s close-hand view of thousands of geese migrating to Fala Flow, a small peat bog close to her home near Edinburgh. Fascinated by the way in which the birds take turns within their skeins to create pockets of wind resistance to aid each other’s flight, Polwart began to consider the ways in which humans depend on each other. 

She says of the project; “It’s a meditation on the ways in which we, as humans, protect and care for each other and for all life, by stepping up, falling back, labouring and resting in our own fashion. In particular, it’s a hymn to mothers and birthing, to the proffering of sanctuary, to the miracle of medicine, and a reminder, a warning, about the consequences of isolating and forgetting”. 


Here she writes poetically about her day. 


Clocks back and frost out. Starlings in the cherry tree. Socks on and jumper on. Shoogle, stretch and shimmy. 


Radio on. Clatter. Disaster. Radio off. Breathe. Black bananas saved (just). Muffin tins and kettle clicks. Coffee? No. Don’t. Exhale into The Quiet. Before. 


Bairns up, up, up! Toasty wee bodies. Yoghurt and Frosties. Mum, he’s looking at me. Mum, she called me a ... Mum! Mum! Hairbrushes lost and manky shirts. Hats and helmets. Snacks into rucksacks. School gate cuddles. Cheerio-o-o! Stomp home the long way. Lungs catch up. 


Phone on. Ach. Diary. Deadlines. This and that, then it’s time to go. A68. B6457. B638. Pippa Murphy’s studio for podcast planning. Ye-esss! Flipcharts and mind maps and multi-coloured markers. 


A landscape of north and flight, through cold, clipped consonants: Skaftafell, Tasilaq, skein, skein, skein. Peatbog connections. Layers and listening. Microphones. Resonance. Ritual meaning. 


Breathing space: The Nooran Sisters on YouTube in their Sufi devotions, and a Google-powered wander into Indian harmoniums. 


Ai-yah! Crooked back. Breathe, breathe into it. Boots on and jacket on. Woodsmoke and fertliser. Rosehips and robins. Hawthorns and hedgerow line recitations. Again. Again. Again. A tractor turning sileage, and another shifting grain. Pheasants in the evergreens. 


Lentil soup and a buttered, cheese scone. Writing. Thinking. Forgetting. Where did I put that? Remembering. Press calls. Poster designs. Desktop clutter. Guestlists. Receipts. Requests. And apologies. The day disappears. 


After School Club chat goes: Council cuts. Rents up. 500 hundred percent! Sure Start under fire. Consultations. Who cares? Who pays? 


Dark out. Pals for pasta. Pumpkin-carving. And spooky preparations. Netflix. Toothpaste. Low lights. And cuddles. Bairns down, down, down. 


Exhale into The Quiet. After. 


A Golden Hour. Thinking. Reading. Listening. Singing. Socks off. Jammies on. Shoogle, stretch and shimmy. 


Frost out. Lights out.