Karine Responds To Email Complaint
Karine Polwart writes:
I received an email today from someone who'd come to one of my gigs and, it seems, had a pretty rotten time.
The reason? Bad songs? Bad sound? Bad performance?
All of these would be perfectly understandable. I don't expect everyone to like what I do.
And everyone is entitled to their own tastes.
But no,.she had a rotten time because I'd encouraged the audience at a recent gig (as, indeed, at all gigs) to join in with the three or four chorus songs I sing in the course of a night and they had done so with great gusto.
Unfortunately, they'd done so also with slightly shaky attention to pitch!
The woman concerned had been sitting next to an old fellow who sang along out of tune on these three or four occasions and the experience had ruined her night.
Now, I'm not a fan of the out of tune singing either. And nor do I think mass singing is obligatory at public events. I think it can be overdone.
But the bulk of my songs are intimate listening affairs. They require attention. They can be a bit draining. So, tactically and emotionally I think it's important to have songs that are a wee sigh of relief.
I've written and recorded several songs which are designed to be sung by lots of people.
Indeed it's the only point of those songs. I wouldn't sing them otherwise.
I've tried to overcome my initial reaction to this mail: that the person concerned just doesn't get what motivates me at all. But I can't get past it.
Being involved in a performance not just as listeners but as participants is at least 50% of why I like folk songs and singing so much.
And it's a key part of what I do. Just as much as the quiet and subtle intimacies of a dark song. So, my advice to anyone who'd rather hear the songs like on the CD? In reverent silence?
Buy a nice bottle of wine. And stay at home on your own.