August 2, 2008

Why Kt’s Pop Don’t Preach

I f YOU'RE wandering around the biomes of the Eden Project in the next 12 months, don't be surprised if you stumble across KT Tunstall scribbling lyrics in a notebook under a coconut tree or humming a tune beside a bougainvillea.

So taken was the bubbly Scottish singer-songwriter with the whole ethos and ambience at Eden that she's talking about coming back for some inspiration when she's writing the next album. The 6,000- strong audience for KT's joyful, rocket-powered show on stage in front of the iconic greenhouses last weekend were just as enamoured with her performance as she seemed to be with the warmth and spirit of the place.

Having woken up in a hotel overlooking the glorious coastline at Carlyon Bay, after a gruelling 18-hour journey via ferry from Ireland, the 30-year-old star was thrilled to be back in Cornwall, where she came across Eden on holiday a couple of years ago.

"It is just gorgeous, a lovely place. I'm delighted to be playing here," she said after the band's soundcheck on Friday afternoon.

Being an eco-minded lass, KT was particularly enthralled to be performing in a spot that until a few short years ago was a useless wasteland created as a by-product of the china clay industry.

"There are very few places like this where you have such spectacular regeneration of an area," she added.

But while green issues are her personal hobby-horse, she resists the temptation to preach about it from the stage.

"I don't assume that because people like my music that they are interested in my views," she said. "I would hate to think that pop and rock stars would ever become the moral guides of a generation. I don't think that's my job. Your parents tell you how to behave and Iggy Pop tells you how not to.

"I would not even really talk about green issues at all, but it seems an imperative time where there seems to be a window where something can be done - a tipping point where we have reached a critical status. What is imperative is that everyone gets involved in the crucial changes affecting us all."

What KT does revel in is the power of the collective, especially at a gig like this one.

"No one is going to get anything done if they are sitting at home in a grump. When you get thousands of people together to have a shared experience, it is emotional and positive. It puts people in a much better position to do anything at all. I do think creative arts are essential to change."

With that sentiment in mind, it would be interesting to hear how many music lovers came along to the show - joined in at one point with KT's mass Mexican wave - and went away with an additional agenda.

True to her word, there was no preaching, just an easy, amiable rapport with the crowd and a cracking set of rocked-up, folk- fuelled songs, powerfully delivered by the pint-sized singer and her kicking band as the sun went down on the unique landscape.

Her rocked-up rendition of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree that fused into a duel with the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army, was alone worth the trip.

Earlier, the gloriously eccentric and talented Fyfe Dangerfield, main man of special guests the Guillemots, paused during his set, gazing, as if mesmerised, towards banks of colourful planting and flags fluttering in the distance. "It's just the first time I've ever stood on stage and watched a kestrel fly by," he blinked, clearly moved by the experience.

(c) 2008 Western Morning News, The Plymouth (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.