Inge Thomson, Accordionist

A hard lady to track down – she has just finished touring in Canada – we caught up with the wonderful Inge Thomson ahead of her gig at Jo Powell’s Lovely Barn on Sunday 27 July in what will be the finale of this weekend’s Airs & Gracenotes festival of live music

Q: You grew up on Fair Isle … how did that very specific sense of place influence your music?

A: Fair Isle is a magical place – when there is a dance or a concert on in the hall, the whole population will turn out.  We are surrounded by the sea, so I grew up with all the associated noises, seabirds, the clanking of marine machinery, foghorns and all sorts.


Q: Is your work part of what might be considered a Shetland ‘sound’, or something different altogether?

A: Shetland has a very strong fiddling tradition, so I wouldn’t class the music I make as ‘Shetland’ at all, although I appreciate the rhythmic and harmonic qualities and do inadvertently reference.


Q: Who or what has been your greatest musical inspiration?

A: I come from a musical family – my grandfather and father are both huge influences. It was normal to sing together and having tunes together with the extended family was a regular occurrence.


Q: Now based near Edinburgh, how often do you get back to Fair Isle? And do you have a fine collection of jumpers?

A: I get back home about twice a year usually – not nearly enough. Yes, I have many fine knits!


Q: Your first solo album, Shipwrecks and Static, is a wonderful listen, with so many layers to it (not to mention assorted bleeps and squeaks). How would you describe the album to those who have not yet had the pleasure?

A: Thank you. I would say it is like guddling about in a rock pool.


Q: Where are you now and what are you working on?

A: I'm in transit, I've been playing in Vancouver with the Karine Polwart Trio. Heading home to my babies.


Q: What do you love about what you do?

A: I get to meet people from all walks of life. I have the privilege of seeing other countries as a musician, not a tourist. I get to make music! 


Q: Will this be your first visit to Peebles, or have you played down this way before?

A: I have played a few times in the marvelous Eastgate Theatre.


Q: And what can the audience expect from your performance at Jo’s place … will you be letting your imagination run wild?

A: We’ll just have to wait and see!

Inge Thomson plays at Jo Powell’s Candlelit House Party in the Lovely Barn, Peebles at 8pm on Sunday, 27 July. Admission by donation, book by phone 07795 468295.