And Blithely Spent the Gowden Day (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

And Blithely Spent the Gowden Day

Scott Wallace

Wounded Knee and Daniel Padden produce sonic smorgasbord at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Inspired by Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills, Wounded Knee – nom de plume of Edinburgh songwriter and artist Drew Wright – and Daniel Padden’s collaboration And Blithely Spent the Gowden Day is a sonic smorgasbord celebrating Auld Reekie.

Padden and Wright mix their own compositions with reinterpretations of traditional Scots’ folk songs including ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’, ‘Gloomy Winter's Noo Awa’’ and a rearranged version of ‘Sunshine on Leith’.

There’s a lot to like about the show, its performers and their considerable chops. The intimate and sparse instrumentation is stunning; a mélange of minimalist clarinet weaves around droning cellos, rolling double bass, and Padden’s inventive guitar – arguably the most avant-garde element to the show – which at times channels the acoustic savagery of Bill Orcutt.

As busy as all this sounds, there’s always plenty of space for the songs to breathe, and into this space comes Drew Wright, who looks like he’s having a ball. Clicking his fingers, shuffling his feet and delivering his prose and poetry to captivating effect. He peppers the show with readings from the poem ‘Auld Reekie’ by Robert Fergusson and the modernist essay ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ by George Simmel, which work as good bookends to the show’s two parts.

You can’t help but feel, and hope, that this won’t be a one-off collaboration. Padden and Wright are a dab hand at breathing life into older tunes as well as coming up with their own, which may very well be the shape of folk to come.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, run now ended.

Daniel Padden & Wounded Knee

Daniel Padden and Wounded Knee: And Blithely Spend the Gowden Day

  • 4 stars

A song cycle celebrating the seasons, inspired by Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills. The musicians draw on diverse influences including African guitar minimalism, cosmic jazz and folk traditions.

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