‘People have this idea that folk singers are like, out in the sticks with sheep and cows and wearing wool sweaters, and I’m a bit of a stereotype. I can’t help it.’ It’s no wonder then that Karine Polwart’s latest DVD (Here’s Where Tomorrow Starts) is filmed in a variety of locations including the studio in the Borders where many of her recordings and rehearsals have begun to take shape. From start to finish the DVD is polished but not overproduced; instead it has a natural sheen to it, which whilst boasting impeccable quality, leaves it feeling raw and sympathetic to the genre.
Salters Road is aptly filmed on Salters Road, the Darwin inspired We’re All Leaving is filmed outside and Tongue That Cannot Lie is set against a dry stone wall, whilst other songs are played in a stripped back studio set up. It’s these simple yet effective touches that lead you into Karine’s world, breaking down the divides that often exist in both the recorded and live arenas. There’s little doubt that the accompaniment from brother Steven and Inge Thomson add much needed layers to Karine’s sound, but it also seems a shame that Kim Edgar and Signy Jakobsdottir get relegated to guests in the sleeve, when their addition to the DVD seem paramount to keeping the emotional connection alive.
Likewise it seems odd that traditional number The Learig is followed by a clip of Karine discussing her career path. ‘I have these moments of just thinking this is such a ridiculous thing to do for a living…you know writing songs and getting your ideas out there, why would anyone care about that?’ and yet her previous connection with Burns’ number seems to explain exactly her career has gone from strength to strength, as it’s her ability to connect with song, music and story, which in turn draws you in to become equally enchanted.
Nowhere is this better highlighted that in the haunting rendition of Sorry, which simultaneously makes it clear the thought and detail of every element has been carefully considered and executed with precision, bringing the older songs together in a new light. Meanwhile new songs such as Salters Road and Tinsel Snow leave a promise of what’s to come and though Karine may not have been on a total hiatus (joining with the likes of Lau and The Burns Unit since her last recording) it’s clear that Here’s Where Tomorrow Starts reads very much like a mantra for what’s to come.