The Burns Unit – In session for Marc Riley – BBC 6 Music – August 24, 2010 – BBC 6 Music –
The Burns Unit tonight. In session for Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music on August 24, 2010. Fronted by Emma Pollack who, up until a few years earlier fronted The Delgados (whose 2005 session I ran only three days ago), finds herself with a new batch of talents and new directions to explore. Always nice when that happens. Always rewarding to sample the fruits of the labor.
Emma Pollack is hugely talented and taps from a vast reservoir of inspirations – she brings enthusiasm to the table, not to mention impeccable songwriting skills. The Burns Unit has been variously described as a Scottish-Canadian Supergroup and groundbreakers of a new Celtic genre, to which Pollack makes a substantial contribution.
But don’t take my word for it – for further evidence we’re on to something, here is a snippet of Lloyd Meredith from Peenko Blog’s review of a 2011 performance by The Burns Unit at The Celtic Connections Festival in January 2011.
Having made their debut live performance exactly two years ago to the day, The Burns Unit returned to wow the audience as part of this year’s Celtic Connections Festival. The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow’s Merchant City felt like the perfect choice of venue, its cobbled floors and old shop hoardings creating a lovely old-world ambience as they do. If you’ve not heard of them before, they could be described as a bit of a Scottish/Canadian super-group. The line-up includes folk singers Karine Polwart and Kim Edgar, singer songwriter Emma Pollock (formerly of The Delgados), King Creosote (from the Fence Collective), Glasgow hip-hop artist MC Soom T, Indo-Scottish musical legend Future Pilot AKA, plus Canadian drummer/producer Mattie Foulds and pianist Michael Johnson. The band formed out of a one-week songwriting retreat called Burnsong which took place deep in rural Scotland way back in December 2006. Due to the logistical nightmare of getting such a disparate band together in the same place at the same time, they claim that although they technically formed several years ago, they have only really been together for about six months. Emma Pollock called it ‘dog years in reverse’.
They open with the unmistakable sound of King Creosote’s accordion on ‘Since We’ve Fallen Out’. What follows is a masterclass in live music and we’re treated to an array of both new and old songs. From Karine Polwart’s haunting voice to MC Soom T’s feisty rapping, you soon realise how lucky you are to be witnessing something this special.
See? I’m not the only one who is high on this band. I’m not sure where things stand now, as The Burns Unit is considered something of a side project for Pollack and the other band members. But it would be nice if there was more to dive into.
For the time being, this will do just fine.
As you know, we’ve suspended our ads in order to make Past Daily a better experience for you without all the distractions and pop-ups. Because of that, we’re relying more on your support through Patreon to keep us up and running every day. For as little as $1.00 a month you can make a huge difference as well as be able to download all of our posts for free (news, history, music). You’ll see a banner just below. Click on that and become a subscriber – it’s easy, painless and does a world of good.