Kim Edgar: Guest Blog
We’re big fans of singer-songwriter Kim Edgar over at Glasgow and Edinburgh music tours and to mark the launch of the new single from CARA, we’re delighted she found the time to pen a guest blog for us, over to Kim! Mòran Taing: charity single release for Cancer Research UK, available here.
Songs and the wings they grow!
I feel incredibly lucky to be able to write songs, and see where they go, and where they take me…It’s still a wonder to me how I got here, but I’ll try and trace the route 🙂
Back in 2005, I entered one of my songs, Thaw (written at a bus stop in Winchburgh, where I was teaching in a nursery at the time) into a songwriting competition called Burnsong, celebrating the legacy of Robert Burns by supporting new songwriting in Scotland. Selected as one of seventeen winning songwriters, I was delighted to share the prize of a week in Dumfries during the Burnsong Songwriting Festival, participating in songwriting workshops with Rab Noakes and Lorna Brooks by day, and attending outstanding gigs from Scottish songwriters by night. It was like fertiliser for songwriters!
The evening that changed the course of my career was when I heard Karine Polwart perform with her band. I was so moved by her songwriting, and the beautiful arrangements and delivery of the words and music, and I wanted to do that, too. So I handed in my notice as a teacher, and plunged into the unknown…
The Burns Unit
I feel blessed to have been invited by Burnsong, a year later, to spend a week in a “songhouse” songwriting with Karine (I could hardly believe it!) as well as King Creosote, Emma Pollock, Michael Johnston, Future Pilot AKA, MC Soom T and Chris Difford. It was an incredible opportunity for an emerging songwriter, and working with such talented people who all approached the craft differently was incredibly stimulating. We wrote many songs together, performed them in two concerts at the end of the week, and liked it so much that we went on to form a band called The Burns Unit – minus Chris Difford, as Squeeze reformed at that time, and with the addition of Mattie Foulds on drums – my very favourite drummer!
Mattie offered to produce my first album, Butterflies and Broken Glass (2008), which featured some of the songs written in the Burnsong Songhouse, and the journey began! The Burns Unit also released the album Side Show (2010) and had a great few years touring and playing at festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival, which was amazing.
CARA & Solo Performances
One Burns Unit song, which I wrote with Karine Polwart, called Blood Ice and Ashes, reached the ears of Gudrun Walther, a folk musician in Germany, and member of the band CARA. They were on the lookout for a new singer songwriter/pianist, and had enjoyed my piano arrangements on Karine’s traditional album, The Fairest Floo’er. So Gudrun contacted me on Facebook, I flew over to Germany to audition, and joined CARA back in 2013.
Since then, I’ve had the privilege of playing my songs, alongside traditional Scottish and Irish tunes and songs, and other self written material from the band, across Europe and at festivals in the USA and Ireland with CARA. I feel incredibly lucky that songwriting enables me play with fantastic musicians on a regular basis, and to travel, see the world, and connect with people through my songs.
I’ve also continued to write and perform as a solo artist, releasing The Ornate Lie in 2012, and Stories Untold in 2016, and I’m currently working on material for my next solo album, which I hope to release in 2020. I’m grateful for the continued support for my music, and last night, I had the chance to perform solo at a new club called RootsBase in Rose Street Theatre in my home town, Edinburgh, and try out a few of my new songs for a lovely, warm audience. I love my job!
Mòran Taing: charity single release for Cancer Research UK, Thursday 28th March 2019
My dad, Derek Edgar, sadly died of cancer on 28th March 2017. He was an extraordinary man: creative, gentle, positive, loving, and determined. He remained just as extraordinary in facing cancer of an unknown primary source, for which no successful treatment could be found.
In the last week of his life, I wrote him a thank you card, because I wanted him to know how grateful my brother, myself and my mum were to have him in our lives. He challenged me to take the words of that card, and turn them into a happy song – he knew/knows I find writing happy songs difficult! And he has always tried to encourage me to keep developing my skills.
So that’s where Mòran Taing came from – it’s a song of gratitude for my dad’s life, and his legacy. The title is in Scots Gaelic, and the chorus means “many thanks, goodbye for now, fare you well for now, many thanks”. My mum helped me to write the lyrics, and continues to inspire me with her own positivity in the face of adversity. Mary Ann Kennedy kindly helped me to find the most fitting Gaelic words for my feelings, and then helped both myself and my CARA bandmate Gudrun to learn how to pronounce them!
On his second anniversary, 28th March 2019, CARA has released Mòran Taing as a single, and make our “official music video” which celebrates his life, and his passions, public for sharing. From Thursday, you can buy the single here: https://www.cara-music.com/index.php/en/shop-en/cara-moran-taing-eng2
I hope that the song and video will bring comfort and strength to those whose lives are affected by cancer, and that the proceeds of the single, which will be donated to Cancer Research UK, will help in the battle against this illness which affects so many people. Thanks to my CARA bandmates for their support throughout this project, and to you, for buying the single, and supporting the charity!
An opportunity for emerging Scottish songwriters
It feels like full circle now…here’s an amazing opportunity for an emerging songwriter, in memory of Stewart Cruickshank, a fantastic radio producer and true music enthusiast, who was so supportive to me (and countless others) at the beginning of my songwriting career. Stewart was one of the original Burnsong team who gave me a life changing opportunity as a songwriter. It’s a fitting tribute, and a unique opportunity for anyone who’s starting out now – so please share widely!
Keep In Touch!
If you’d like to find out more, or to get in touch with me, here’s where I am!
Facebook: @KimEdgarMusic and @KimEdgarSongwriter