Fringe Review: Clara Pople

Jeremy Welch reviews Clara Pople at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

WORKING as a reviewer during the festival is a bit like working on an oyster farm – you shuck away at the oysters in the hope of finding pearls.  More so when you review shows in the Free Fringe.  My admiration for these artists that scratch a living in the hope of finding recognition is boundless.

Well in Clara Pople I have found a pearl in the oyster and that pearl shines bright.

Clara combines a quite exquisitely beautiful voice with vocal agility and range that your ears ring with pleasure. For a self-confessed non-instrument player, she enhances her song with the skilful use of looping. For those not familiar with looping in music, it is the process of building up multiple layers of sound, allowing the musician to create complex arrangements in real-time. It’s extraordinary that a small electronic set of controls in the hands of the talented Cara enhance her wonderful voice with perfectly layered looping.

The lyrics are written by her mother and – chatting with daughter and mother after the performance – it is clear that the process is collaborative. It is also very clear that nothing is left to chance; the lyrics, music and vocals are rehearsed over and over again to create the perfect blend of looping, lyricism and voice. The genres of music Clara covers in her performance ranges from cabaret, gospel, and Celtic to many others. As well as being talented, she is a versatile singer.

It’s a small venue, which is a shame as this artist should be exposed to a wider audience.

Her performance may be part of the Free Fringe this year but I can guarantee it will not be free next year.

Go and see this performance and be one of those that can say, “I saw her before she became well known”.


Clara Pople – Little White Pig, 26b Dublin Street – 23:00 – find out more at

Read more reviews on Scottish Field’s Fringe pages.

Plus, don’t miss the September issue of Scottish Field magazine.