Fri 28th May, 2021
A big Hello from the Dundee Rep, for which this evening’s entertainment compiled a two hour session for friends and loved ones. The camera angle revealed a large space with 4 round tables seating four or five people a space for the set and a large screen for the film footage of special Dundee conversations between Kathryn and her respective acts. At first things seemed unorganised and speedily done.
But after a short introduction by Kathryn she introduced the first act by interviewing (very personally) with stories and experience’s taken in by friend and compatriot Andrew Wasylyk. They took a stroll through Balgay Park talking about childhood, memories and of course good times. sharing blossom, flowers, nature and its great healing qualities.
The piano/ violin that were the first act performed by Andrew were very slow and melodic. And in a certain way sounded lament like, with see through visuals of water. Then taken up was the trumpet that always creates an instant third dimension but still held to the music of the piano. And as the cello, joined the footage changed to scenes of mass gatherings, with the very soft music turned to visuals of tugs of war and children’s see saws.
It was an extended song telling its own soulful story, as we were guided by the footage of birds and crying. When the ongoing song held a single note it really claimed the performance. As each note passed we also felt the sense that each one had meaning for the artist something like conceptual.
Strolling around the Ferry with Sion Parkinson whom Kathryn got on well with was in a very relaxed manner; an encounter of deep friendship. He selflessly told us of his diagnosis of epilepsy he had been given during lock down in 2020. He was speedily diagnosed and put on medication that he said changed his life.
His songs spoke of the inner experiences of suffering the condition, explaining the overpowering smells and noises he will have to live with. He was upright and accepting of these things coming from this change of life. He played his instances on his piano and what came out took us to the heart of the problems that come with his different world. He wore a mask like/helmet like which was made of shredded paper. I don’t think it was really to hide himself away, more like it was another root of his outlandish performance. It was so accomplished in being able to strikingly control the music to inform us of the outlandish experience. Notes that held strange and gruelling passages and screams like torture again strikingly composed for the very toughest of reality.
The structure of the evening was now in full flow in a momentum of story and song. There was a feeling of tradition but in no way was the music constrained to that. As Kathryn interviewed Lu Shaw otherwise known as SHHE, they took a walk down memory lane (literally) where her album has been done, it was an introduction compelling and familiar.
It was Kathryn’s night, she was the ring master of idea and thought but she would also go very deeply into the overall evening before the end. There were layers and depths created in an extraordinary way through closeness and to reiterate love.
For SHHE the sound was sparse and star like, it was enthroned and uneasy. Using a synth to create the least possible notes to the completion of what music is itself. For a while no speaking or talking only vibe notes held to the greatest possible length and seeming distance. And when singing she attuned to the notes being expressed. She had the gig in her hands with the sound of widened expression. The room was darker with only two lights on so she loomed there as the small audience silently took it in. There were tones like a phone dial or a soft siren to leave us compelled.
Kathryn told us of her nervous anticipation at the thought of doing what she loved, and how she felt was most important for music the aspect of making it live. She relaxed took her seat for a solo performance. Her songs were short and included lyrics that would overwhelm you if you thought about them for too long. We could see her capability for the much experienced live act she has to go on. Her voice had shrills, whispers, passion and heartbreak.
Her styles transposed her story like lyrics with the cool thump of the piano keys. She in her time as an artist had won awards in the world of music. She simply sits with a telling smile and a content frown keeping us up with her well travelled world, her love for life and her song making. Sharing disparaging comments on the great and highly personal music of the poignant, playful precision sound of the human voice and its companion the piano.
We were just getting used to the number of songs when she would finish and take it away from us. Then she was soon to restart another pain ridden, love strong song from the heart of the artist’s life. “You do not know me, and never will”, “You don’t want me”, “It sounds like…blood has spilled.”, were words of seeming torture for the enchanted works of every song.
She played her songs that could only be as an entrance to living in her playful, deductive sincere and wrought (at least in idea) self. Bringing a presence to the stage of open and real time music with untold and forthcoming stories. Powerful styles that through her song invited us to be pulled alongside her. She was inclusive and strikingly not so, truthful, unbearing. It was a venue where music is the encounter it should be like magic and fire yet dowsing that fire with completeness. We felt gratitude and even blessing in her informal yet decisive performance.
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly