Almost three years since they last toured, The Unthanks – Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky together with their band – return to Peebles on 7 July with a new record and a stunning back catalogue of tracks.
It’s traditional folk music, but not really; the arrangements and writing of composer, pianist and producer Adrian McNally switch and flow effortlessly to encompass jazz, classical, ambient and post-rock. As Elvis Costello once commented, “They run from the very root of folk music to the very tip of the branch”.
The same could perhaps also be said of James Yorkston, a master musician who will both perform and present his latest Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer club night on 24 July.
The Eastgate is one of only four venues in the country selected for this latest Tae Sup. And the line-up is as imaginative as ever with music from Brìghde Chaimbeul and Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, plus poetry and more from renowned performance poet Salena Godden.
“With Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer, I just try and mix things up, keeping the line-ups interesting, not one particular genre or theme to a night,” explained Yorkston. “A lot of the people I ask to play are friends who I’ve known for years, or just people I’ve met on the road whose music has taken to me. When programming Tae Sup, I just think ‘who would I like to see?’ and work from there.”
The stellar trio of performances is topped off by Ralph Fiennes who leads an exceptional cast in the National Theatre’s Straight Line Crazy (15 July), directed by Nicholas Hytner. The play is a blazing portrait of Robert Moses, a visionary but aggressive urban planner whose hand shaped much of metropolitan New York.
For 40 uninterrupted years, he was the most powerful man in the city, manipulating those elected to office through a mix of guile, charm and intimidation. It is both an intriguing true story and an electrifying deconstruction of the nature of power and democracy.
For tickets for The Unthanks, Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer, Straight Line Crazy and many other performances in July, call Box Office on 01721 725777, or go online at eastgatearts.com