The Scotsman Sessions #205: Tam Killean

Welcome to the award-winning 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, Tam Killean of “smart casual indie pop” Glasgow five-piece Wojtek the Bear performs a stripped-back rendition of recent single Ferme La Bouche

The original Wojtek the Bear was an orphan cub adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II and officially enlisted in the army as a private (later promoted to corporal). The beer-swilling bear became quite the celebrity and lived out his post-war days at Edinburgh Zoo, before being immortalised in a statue in West Princes Street Gardens.

Meanwhile, over in Glasgow a self-styled “smart casual indie pop” five-piece have named themselves after the ursine soldier with, arguably, a fondness for beer in common.

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Wojtek the Bear frontman Tam Killean helms their Scotsman Session from his living room, performing a stripped-back rendition of recent single Ferme La Bouche, their mellow Scottish indie take on Motown’s heartbreak pop. The track – about a toxic relationship – is a taster for their second album, Heaven By The Back Door, which was written and recorded during last year’s lockdown.

Tam Killean
Tam Killean

“It felt odd at points as there were days when not everyone was allowed to be in the studio at the one time,” says Killean, “so there was lots of emailing of mixes and checking with people over video calls if they were happy with how it was sounding. In a way that was quite handy if there were any disagreements over anything as you can just end the call and claim you had a bad connection!”

“I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home throughout it all which I know is a massive privilege. It looks like there's finally some light at the end of the tunnel and we might even be able to play live before the end of this year. We've optimistically booked a launch gig for 17 July at the CCA.”

Ferme La Bouche is out now on Last Night From Glasgow. Heaven by the Back Door is released on 16 July and can be pre-ordered on transparent orange or black vinyl, see https://www.facebook.com/wojtekthebearband/

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