The Village Fete & the Edinburgh Folk Scene

Village Fete

I’m not normally the type to plug specific events this obviously, but it gives me the opportunity to shed light on one of Edinburgh’s most thriving music scenes – in many ways Edinburgh’s only seriously thriving music scene. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of really good indie-pop groups knocking around Scotland’s capital, but the audience for anything other than a particular kind of alternative folk music is pretty sparse for the most part, and this is a bloody shame.

That said, there is a sort of delicate, introverted folk music or, alternatively, a discordant, sightly arhythmic style of alt-folk or folktronica or whatever you’d want to call it that seems to suit the locals for some reason. It’s not all that weird, just slightly skewed somehow, and I like it but I couldn’t tell you why it’s so much more popular over here than other stuff which I would consider more, umm, what, populist, perhaps?

It’s almost as if this city takes pride in the amateur nature of a lot of its native artistic enterprises, and I’m not sure where this comes from. It may be from the aristocratic nature of the place, or perhaps a reaction to the rock ‘n’ roll dominance of Glasgow or perhaps even a reaction to the considerable wealth of Edinburgh’s huge financial community. Without doing proper research – in fact, maybe even if I did proper research – I just couldn’t tell you.

Anyway, the upshoot is that there is a really solid group of people making what I guess you would describe as ‘difficult’ folk music, some of which, once you get used to it, is terrific. I’m not making claims on behalf of any of these bands beause I don’t know any of them that well, but they are all playing this Saturday at the Village Fete, which appears to be some sort of student art thingummy. It’s at Old Saint Paul’s Church Hall on Jeffrey Street and starts at about noon, so if you’re a resident of these parts get yourselves down there to see Withered Hand, Randan Discotheque and Wounded Knee.

If you’re not, then listen to this stuff and wonder, as I do, why this kind of music in particular seems to take hold around here when plenty of other, equally deserving styles seem to get the cold shoulder. They’re a strange breed, the Edinburgh music fans, and even after almost three years here I am still struggling to really understand them properly.

Withered Hand – Hard On
Randan Discotheque – Heather the Weather A serenade to an iconic local weather lass.
Wounded Knee – Canary

And here’s a couple of others, just for shits and giggles, by Eagleowl and My Kappa Roots.
My Kappa Roots – Summer You Dancer
Eagleowl – This is Not Your Lucky Day These chaps are Bart’s band, one of the regular commenters here, and are supporting The Twilight Sad at The Liquid Rooms on the 20th March, so I’ll have a proper reaction to them after that gig.¬† This is gorgeous though.