The Scotsman Sessions #94: Kirsty Law
Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Edinburgh-based folk singer Kirsty Law performs traditional song, The Shearing
When Kirsty Law was nine-years-old, she experienced a Damascene moment at the opening ceremony for the Scottish Parliament. As she recalls, “The people gathered on the Mound and in Princes Street Gardens watched on big screens as Sheena Wellington sang A Man’s A Man for A’ That by Robert Burns. It was an amazing moment and hugely impactful for me as a child, seeing intimidating politicians join with her on the refrain. It showed me just what singing can do.”
There was no looking back for the Edinburgh-based folk musician, who together with filmmaker Liam Baker chose the picturesque patch surrounding the Parliament Building as the setting for her bedazzling rendition of traditional song, The Shearing. Its lyrics, Law feels, are of particular relevance right now. “The song addresses a young woman preparing for the birth of her child,” she explains. “There’s an underlying message throughout - ’you can’t do everything’ or ‘some things can wait’ - and perhaps those ideas feel pertinent in a time of increased anxiety and uncertainty. I find it interesting to see what songs we’re almost subconsciously drawn to at different times.”
Law, whose latest album project is an audio-visual experience titled Young Night Thought, is renowned for her innovative fusion of traditional Scottish music and a variety of different art forms. Over the years she’s collaborated with a number of filmmakers, poets, storytellers and visual artists. She celebrates the past while looking at the world around her; a folk singer in the truest sense.
“I’ve always wanted my work to be part of a cultural dialogue, to comment, to reference, to look at ideas and places and people from different perspectives,” she says. “Traditional music allows you to do that because you’re given a whole spectrum of time, styles and interpretations to play with.”
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