HAVING recently found out she has roots in Northern Ireland Scottish singer songwriter KT Tunstall has revealed she wants to spend more time discovering the country.
The star, famed for songs such as Black Horse and the Cherry Tree and Suddenly I See, will take to the stage at this year’s Soma Festival in Castlewellan later this week (Wed 17th).
Earlier this month KT appeared on the ITV programme Long Lost Family where she learned that her biological father was from Belfast.
She said: “I’m adopted but I’ve got my roots in Northern Ireland. My biological father’s side of the family were from Belfast so I’m half Northern Irish, by birth.
“I recently did the Long Lost Family program on ITV and found out that my father was called John Corrigan, apparently a very Irish boy from Northern Ireland.
“I think now I really want to see more of Northern Ireland, I think when I finally get a little bit more time, I’ll head over and get a camper van and just drive all around Ireland for a month. I think it would be amazing.”
Sadly KT’s father John passed away in 2002 and she wasn’t able to meet him, but through the programme she did connect with her biological mother and two sisters.
Playing Northern Ireland for KT is now a bit of a homecoming, but for the star, who didn’t realise the connection until earlier this year says there’s now a special place in her heart for the Northern Ireland audiences.
“I’ve always loved going to Northern Ireland and performing there” revealed KT, adding: “I’m really looking forward to playing the Soma Festival and visiting beautiful countryside again. It’s such an intimate show, I’m excited to curate a special solo set to reflect the space.”
KT’s no stranger to the Northern Ireland audiences having performed on stages such as the Ulster Hall. But this time she’s looking forward to stripping her show back to an intimate setting at Soma.
She said: “I love going back to Northern Ireland. I remember playing the Ulster Hall for the first time and just being completely blown away by the venue.
“I was so excited when I got there, I remember being told it was the first place ever that Led Zeppelin played Stairway to Heaven. And I remember someone else was telling a story about I think it was Iron Maiden playing there and one of the band members hanging off the lighting rig from the middle of the room or something, and I just loved that.
“I love those stories of rock and roll taking place in slightly unexpected venues.”
For KT Soma will be a far cry away from her usual high energy big venue performances.
She said: “I’ve been playing sort of big knees-up festival sets, and Soma’s going to be a really lovely kind of 180, although to be honest, I can still make a racket on my own.
“I think the difference for me is that there’s more of a conversational vibe to the show, where I’ll actually be talking to the audience quite a lot more. And so there’s more of an element of storytelling to the solo show than there is to the full band one. So there’s usually a lot of laughs had because of that.
“I think it’s nice people get a bit more in-depth picture about what the songs are about, and a few stories, memorable stories from me about life along the way, from where it all started. “As well as that because I’m solo, there’s sometimes different versions of songs that they might know.”
Of course there’ll be a little bit more work involved for KT on the solo show, but she’s looking forward to getting back to basics.
She said: “My memory is not amazing and it never has been, so when it comes to actually operating all of my gear, it takes a little second to remember which buttons to press, and which pad does what.
“I actually think that that’s really good for me, it means I don’t get get stuck in a rut. It just keeps everything fresh, when you sort of keep swapping out what you’re doing.
“But I’m terrible at remembering my own lyrics, so I have a little run-through beforehand to make sure I remember. It’s definitely been known for my guitar tech to be Googling lyrics at the side of the stage.”
Tickets for KT Tunstall, priced £28, are available via the festival website www.somafestival.com or follow the festival hashtags #thesomafestival and #féilesoma2019