Friday, 27 November 2009


Hullo ma wee blog,

Tonight my lovely G and I took a short 20 minute trip across the border into England - well, Berwick upon Tweed, which was stolen by a long legged English king centuries ago and has been trying to get back ever since.

Anyway the purpose of going across to 'the dark side' was to go and see 'The Unthanks',a folk band from the north of England. They were nominated for a Mercury music award a couple of years ago and are seen to carry a heritage of traditional north east folk music into modern music and culture in a very special way. Rachael and Becky Unthank have a unique way of delivering what can be very bleak themes with sparse orchestrations and yet are very captivating to listen to - for a while at least.

We went to see them early this year in Glasgow and enjoyed it - well, the lovely G did more than me - I struggled with 2 hours of mainly morose songs. But I was keen to go again and see how I reacted a second time, so when a friend dropped out and there was a spare ticket I was taken out tonight to see them. I am more of a folk music fan than the lovely G and for most of the evening I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were times though when I couldn't help thinking that Geordie's are a dour bunch who like to wallow in sadness and wishing that the two Unthank sisters would just crack a smile and give a couple of lighter stories to lift the mood, and of course they did eventually but again I struggled a bit to get there with them.
They are very good at what they do but I cant class them as being casual entertainment. Fascinating, thought provoking, deep, dark and sobering perhaps and the grils themselves keep up quite a cheery banter with the crowd but after a while I do find it uncomfortable and a bit relentless both in theme, arrangement and mood.

Maybe I'm shallow.

The video at the top is the title track of the new album and one of the happier songs we heard tonight.

I think I'll stick mainly with 'The Corries'

see you later.

listening to REM 'Shiny Happy People'


Bovey Belle said...

Ah, I see you've been to "foreign parts" . . . I enjoyed the Unthank song. My farrier produced a CD of folk music a couple of years back and gave me a copy. He smiled and said it was "music to cut your throat by" . . . There's a connection with Unthank's work by the sounds of things! I liked the guy by the piano who had I think, just 2 notes to play in the entire performance. Just a little "clunk" towards the end . . . Wonder how much he gets paid for that?!

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

I liked both, but then again, I'm a I allowed to have an opinion on such things? :)

Big Swifty said...

Welcome to England, just. Do you know the Dick Gaughan song "Both sides of the Tweed"? (Off Handful of Earth - a great album). Do you think the people of Berwick are attracted by being Scottish, or cheaper taxation!?!? And are they ready for a worsening of the weather if they move to Scotland? Either way, Berwick's a wonderful town; I usually stop there if driving to/from Scotland. Best wishes, from Andrew

Alistair said...

Hullo Folks,

Thanks for the comments.

BB - as far as I know he doesn't get paid anything. He is the older girls husband and has to sit there where he can be seen and not touch anything until she says he can. Typical bossy woman!

Oh and he's the band manager and organises the tours, gigs,transport, marketing and some of the orchestrations too so it may be that he was just too knackered to play more than he did....haha.

ER - Your opinion carries just as much weight as anyone else and your comments are very welcome so 'dinnae fash yersel, lassie. {dont get upset/anxious!}

Swifty - don't know that track actually so may look it up. For us visiting Berwick is the touristic equivalent of jamming your foot in the door and extorting money. Its only 20 miles down the A1. Your right though. Its a nice wee place.

Dont forget your passport. Remember its ST Andrews day today {30th Nov} and our parliament is asking for a referendum on complete separation so you may find yourself being strip searched on one visit...... not nice with that wind whipping in from the sea at the Border.

Cheers all,

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