Scottish folk bard James Yorkston returns to Berlin next week fresh off the back of a new album, “Route to the Harmonium”.
By Calum Bolland
Championed early by the legendary John Peel, Yorkston has been quietly establishing a broad and profound oeuvre for over fifteen years. His subtle ear for melody and gentle, mellow voice weave between heartbreak and humour, with NME describing him as having a talent “as deep as a mine shaft”. An integral part of the influential FENCE Collective folk scene in Scotland, Yorkston brings an impressive body of work and abundance of musical talent to Berlin.
A published poet and author, Yorkston revels in the gorgeous banality of everyday lived experience. He emerges from a Celtic tradition of storytelling and elevates simple scenes: lying “Woozy with Cider” in bed with his wife the morning after a particularly raucous wedding, a wistful return to the “Villages I Have Known My Entire Life”. A native of fishing village Cellardyke, musical themes lean not towards romanticised isolation but rather to community, to the connections between people.
Yorkston’s latest release “The Route to the Harmonium” comes after a 2016 album and extensive tour with Indian sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan and jazz double-bassist Jon Thorne, this sidestep into fusion garnering widely positive acclaim. It demonstrated not only talent but a thirst for innovation that feels rare in the Scottish folk scene. The new album, released in February, was recorded at the singer’s home studio and has drawn widespread acclaim. Characteristically eloquent and sincere, the record marks another intimate moment shared between listener and storyteller.
Drawing comparisons to the likes of Tim Buckley and Bert Jansch, the latter of whom Yorkston has shared a stage with, the concert promises to delight and we at Indie Berlin highly recommend that you join us.