Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer

So the second night of Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer is almost upon us – October 3rd, 2015 – and we’ll have Karine Polwart, Dick Gaughan and Lisa O’Neill.

Three fine acts as ever, two well known, one less so in Scotland but a wonderful talent she is. Karine Polwart you’ll all be aware of I imagine. I first heard her sing when she was part of the group Malinky. Indeed, Malinky and my own backing band The Athletes shared a fiddle player for a while, Jon Bews, and we were fortunate enough to have them name a set of tunes after myself and my band – Yorkston Athletic on their Three Ravens album. Karine possesses a canny song craft and beautiful voice and I’m looking forward to sitting at the side of the stage and watching and listening. Here she is singing ‘Daisy’

Karine’s talent for crafting enduring melodies and her gift for saying just enough without overstating her case have established her as one of the foremost songwriters on the Scottish and UK folk scenes. Four times winner at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including twice for Best Original Song, her 2012 album Traces was picked as Album of The Year by both The Herald and The Guardian and was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year Award.

“One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain” The Guardian


Dick Gaughan I first saw play way back in sometime in the early 1990’s when an old band I was in Miraclehead were invited to play at a wee festival in Cupar. When we arrived, we saw also on the bill was Dick Gaughan (and a band o’ ne’er do wells named the Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra). I didn’t know Dick’s music back then but was urged to watch and listen. I liked what I saw, did a bit of digging and picked up a few of his albums which I continue to listen to this day. It’s a privilege to have him play oor wee club. I’m not sure if he still sings this auld song, but here he is with ‘Willie o’ The Winsbury

The only performer to hold the dual honours of a Lifetime Achievement award by BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and induction into the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame. “One of the five or six great voices of our time.” (John Peel). “How music from the gut really sounds” (Guardian). “Gaughan is absolutely one of the best in the world” (Frets). “In any style, on any stage, Gaughan is one of folk music’s guitar geniuses as well as one of Scotland’s finest singers” (Dirty Linen).

Lisa O’Neill hails from Cavan in Ireland and is one of my favourite singer songwriters of the last few years. You know when you hear someone sing and something just instantly clicks? Well, that’s how it was with me and Lisa’s music. As braw as a craw. I’ve done a few wee tours with her now and am delighted she’s coming over, especially for Tae Sup. Here she is singing ‘No Train to Cavan’

Lisa O’Neill’s songs are like milking stools or three-wheeled cars or unicycles: they’re scuffed and unusual and they’re built to do specific jobs. Lisa does not sugar her truth. She has self-released 2 albums and is currently writing material for the 3rd. Over the last couple of years Lisa has toured North America, Canada, Central Europe, Scotland & the UK, opening for David Gray, Mick Flannery, Angel Olsen as well as Glen Hansard and Sixto Diaz Rodriguez along the way.

”O’Neill is real. Her songs, poetry. Her gift, of the ages. It’s possible she’s the most important artist out of Ireland for decades.” – The Herald




Welcome to Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer.

These events are being programmed and hosted by me, James Yorkston. If you don’t know me, here’s a wee potted history: I’m from the East Neuk and I’ve lived there over half my life, barring an 18 year stint in Edinburgh. In 2001 I signed a record deal with Domino Records and since then I’ve spent most of my time as a musician – writing, recording, touring, writing, recording, touring. I’ve released nine official albums and all sorts of oddities, had a book published… What else? – ach – here’s my website, you can see what I get up to there.

The idea behind Tae Sup is quite simple – we’re putting together well-kent faces, folk I’ve met on my musical travels, old friends – just making interesting, entertaining and unusual evenings. The first three line-ups are up and announced now and I’m feeling they’re looking pretty good. Am I looking forward to these? Of course. The chance to see three acts whose music I admire and love on one evening is pretty special.

First up is Bill Wells with Aidan Moffat, Aidan O’Rourke and Sheena Wellington. Bill Wells’ music I first heard in 2002 when Domino Records sent me a copy of Also in White up. It’s a beautiful suite of sparse piano and a bit of a cult item, the sort of album one drops into conversation sporadically that on occasion finds a fellow enthused admirer. When Domino Records had their tenth anniversary celebrations I was asked to choose one of my favourite albums of theirs and this is what I chose. It’s here – listen. His work with Aidan Moffat carries along the same path but with the added flavour of Aidan Moffat – Aidan who provided the lyric and vocals for Arab Strap for all those years. It’s a successful combination, reminding me in part of Lalo Shifrin and in part of Steven Jessie Bernstein. Here’s what they sound like together.

Aidan O’Rourke you’ll probably know from his work with Lau. I know him a wee bit now, bumped into him throughout the years at festivals and in bars and such. A great player, we all know that. My finest musical memory of him was when I was booked to close one of the stages at the Greenman festival – lovely to be asked of course, but I had no band – so I roped in a load of pals – Lau, Seamus Fogarty, Pictish Trail, Emma Smith. We rehearsed for an hour or so in Lau’s camper van and then played the show. What was it like? Pretty chaotic. Here’s some footage of us doing the Donna Summer classic ‘I Feel Love’. Is this clip in anyway representative of what Aidan will be playing at Tae Sup? I doubt it. I hope not. Here’s a clip of him playing in Cork a few years back, which I imagine will be a little more representative. He’ll be joined on stage by Graeme Stephen.

Sheena Wellington I’ve known since childhood, my wee brother being in the same class as her son. I’ve heard  Sheena sing at various stages throughout my life and my father used to play her cassettes endlessly – her songs are still sometimes mentioned when my family and I have pub reminisces about days of yore – The Dandy and the Beano, The Women o’ Dundee – plus it was one of my first exposures to songs like The Death of Queen Jane. Sheena’s great live, relaxed and amusing and I’m delighted she’s agreed to play, she’s a treasure in Scotland’s musical history. Here’s Sheena singing A Waukrife Minnie.

Now, there’s all the info about parking and all the practical stuff here. We’re aiming for the music starting at 8pm and there’s a bar folk can mingle in beforehand.That’s it. Come a’ ye, I’ll see you there.