Edinburgh International Festival music review: King Creosote: From Scotland With Love, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock.
From Scotland With Love, filmmaker Virginia Heath’s found footage portrait of 20th century Scotland as soundtracked in wistful, emotive style by Mercury Prize-nominated Fife singer-songwriter King Creosote, is not a new project.
Yet despite having been seen and heard live, both on record and on television since its release to coincide with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last year, it felt important that it return once more here, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, as part of Scotland’s most prestigious arts festival and with an audience thick with arts dignitaries looking on.
Heath’s film is powerful in any context, but to see it in a concert hall, large projection and lowered lights giving the feel of a cinema, with Kenny Anderson (King Creosote himself) and a dozen-strong band including string quartet playing alongside, pictured, is a triumphant experience.
Drawn from various archives around the country, the footage used by Heath builds a delicately-composed, evocative vision of Scotland as it was, as our parents and grandparents may have told us about but few of us will have experienced for ourselves.
To see the expanse of the shipyards on the Clyde and a ship being launched into it, or the extent and purpose of workers marching through the city in the early decades of the century, tanks waiting by, or the devastation in Glasgow’s slum areas post-Second World War as the march of regeneration begins, is breathtaking in this context.
The only words are in the songs, like the sweetly-voiced nursery rhymes of Bluebell, Cockleshell, 123 and the spine-tingling night-out joy of One Night Only, and Something to Believe In’s tear-spilling evocation of the hopes and dreams of real people long since passed on.
Published in The Scotsman on 17 August 2015
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