Tags: KT Tunstall

New songs and shifting practice

David Buckland and KT Tunstall discuss personal responses to the voyage, being in an Arctic environment, new songs, shifting practice and engaging with climate change as an artist.

KT Tunstall’s Arctic Diary

KT Tunstall onboard an expedition studying the effects of global warming

Friday, September 26th
Plane landing at Kangerlussuaq
We could see the east coast of Greenland, indifferent, majestic, and there they were – icebergs from above!! Aaaarrr!! We were suddenly all toddlers, looking down on the little minty sailboats being shoved out of the nest of the shore, forced to take off on voyages from which they would never return. Ever diminishing, ever more alone. Gliding off into the vastness.

5 hours sailing down the gargantuan straight of Sondre Stromfjord, the light starts to get soaked up by the time. Like a waking dream. Milky green sea that looks alive. A beautifully perfected valley scraped out of the landscape as our guide, singing us out of its mouth. The weirdness. The spook. That half-light that makes you feel like the whites of your eyes are glowing. A low-lying cloud that turns a scottish landscape into a science fiction set. The boat is full and buzzing like a hive. The Belgian-Danish bar and restaurant manager Jan (Yan? Xian?!) has the best and weirdest burr on his r’s I’ve ever heard. Want to teach him the Ragged Rascal Ran tongue twister.
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Our last day

Hannah Bird and the northern lights as we sail down Kangerlussuaq Fjord

You know that Apple Mac screen saver with the cosmic tracer thing swirling around? About 10 of us were stood on deck late night and looked up at the same time that it escaped out of someone’s laptop, gained gargantuan proportions and launched itself out of the sky above our heads in neon green; spinning, speeding, an incredible Catherine Wheel firework that made us all scream. I stayed out there for an hour and a half in minus ten, making myself laugh as my frozen face was about 5 seconds behind any words I tried to say. The best light show in the world.
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Expedition route

KT Tunstall and Emily Venables follow our route on the map
KT Tunstall and Emily Venables follow our route on the map as we return South towards Kangerlussuaq.

Sermeq Avangnardleq Glacier

It’s cold, cold, cold. Tired eyes in a warm, grateful way. I saw different things today, alternative layers, other people’s stories. I love it here and I don’t want to leave. I’ve said it already, but it is so dreamlike. Definite tones of Wes Anderson’s ‘The Life Aquatic’; if only we had 40 blue boiler suits and red woollen bobble hats. Ryuichi Sakamoto and Jarvis Cocker playing ambient mood music in the bar, icebergs peering in through the port-holes. Friendly scientists dropping large flashing contraptions into the water in the dark to map the mountains below the surface. Ko, David (Steve Zissou)’s wonderful right hand man making heart-meltingly sincere announcements in his lovely Dutch accent about getting into the Zodiac boats to go and ‘explorrr the shorrr’ and ending every time “……That Ish All”.

Marcus made me weep laughing this evening by re-enacting his presentation at an arts and crafts awards ceremony, the ‘Best Porcelain Hedgehog’ category making me nearly wee.

Perdlerfiup Sermia Glacier

Perdlerfiup Sermia Glacier

Woke up with a belly-full of metaphorical tequila. Still feel the shape of the balloon-dog heart in there, but feel altogether better about that. I know it’s good to feel this.

Snap, snap, walking in a Baltic alien landscape and still the grass grows through the snow, all that life that waits patiently beneath for endless sun. Dark red berries fresh under foot stain the powder like blood and trigger thoughts of the hunting that goes on here.

Blood on snow is a disturbing picture, and one that says much about our situation as humans on a planet straining to meet our needs and greeds. But the Greenlandic skill of using every last scrap of animal and knowing what to use it for is undoubtedly impressive.


Northern lights over Uummannaq harbour

Finally I saw the ribbons in the sky, the northern lights. Slow and suggested, swaying velvet curtains in a drafty cosmos. We all played a gig in a bar tonight, I don’t know what happened but the great boot from outwith crushed my mojo…Floored by quiet endings, the rip of other roars, it’s not good when you reject yourself in a Greenlandic bar faced with the brilliance of Hitchcock, Cocker, Wainwright, Sakamoto, Carlton and Feist. Not my night. My heart is twisted up like kid’s balloon and I imagine looks like a poodle.
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Hotel Uummannaq

Jarvis Cocker, Robyn Hitchcock, Martha Wainwright, KT Tunstall and Ryuichi Sakamoto
Jarvis Cocker, Robyn Hitchcock, Martha Wainwright, KT Tunstall and Ryuichi Sakamoto at Hotel Uummannaq.
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Hold on

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KT wowed Cape Farewell-ers and Greenlanders alike during an impromptu performance at an Ilulissat bar called Murphy’s, backed by the local Disko Bay Blues.
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The Disko Bay Blues Band (with special guests)

The Icebergs, Carol Cotterill and Emily Venabless backing KT Tunstall at Murphy's Bar, Ilulissat
KT Tunstall backed by ‘The Icebergs’ (scientists Carol Cotterill and Emily Venables) and local band The Disko Bay Blues at Murphy’s Bar, Ilulissat. Photo: Nathan Gallagher

Excuse the spelleng mistakes, the grammatical errors and the mistaken cultural references, but this blog comes after only 6 hours sleep total in two nights (holding a satellite phone outside, pointing at the sky in the snowing Arctic is certainly a new experience for 3am internet roaming). This alongside the introduction to the most dramatic landscape on earth can only lead to a brain that somewhat resembles the broken ice floating through the sea.

David Noble and 'Murphy' locals.
David Noble and ‘Murphy’ locals. Photo: Nathan Gallagher
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Ilulissat Kangia

KT Tunstall walking at Ilulissat Kangia

Arctic wear by Greenpeace

KT Tunstall and Luke Bullen
KT Tunstall and Luke Bullen. Arctic wear by Greenpeace.
Photo: Nathan Gallagher