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Folk Prom: Josienne Clark and Ben Walker

  • Level 3 Lounge
 

Radio 2 Folk Award Best Duo winners, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, have been playing together since 2011 and cite Sandy Denny, June Tabor, Nic Jones and Pierre Bensusan as respective influences, but theirs is a captivating sound that’s all their own.

With the release of their latest album Overnight, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker have brought us an music full of wonder and depth. The classic quality of these songs, the meticulous beauty of the arrangements, the blanket-warm production and perfect pairing of exquisite vocals and virtuosic guitar is the culmination of everything these idiosyncratically talented musicians have been working towards since they first met.

The way this duo inhabit songs that are sometimes centuries old, making them personal and present
again, while also pricking the heart with their own tales of everyday love and loss makes the music of Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker a rare and precious thing.

**LATEST NEWS** (16.03.17)
Josienne and Ben are delighted to announce that The Mavron Quartet will be appearing with them on the night, adding strings to their songs.

   

 
Standard Price £14.00 in advance | £15.00 on the night
Friends of St David's Hall | Students | Children Under 16 |
Overs 60s | Claimants | Disabled people plus one companion
£2.00 off each ticket
Groups 10+ - please contact Box Office on 02920 878444 £1.00 off each ticket

 

Plus a Ticket Service Charge of £3.95 per transaction and an optional £1.00 postage fee for tickets to be posted.  For full information on the Ticket Service Charge click here

 
Book now
 

With the release of Overnight, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker have brought us an album of wonder
and depth. The classic quality of these songs, the meticulous beauty of the arrangements, the
blanket-warm production and perfect pairing of exquisite vocals and virtuosic guitar is the
culmination of everything these idiosyncratically talented musicians have been working towards
since they first met.

For Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis, Josienne and Ben’s 2014 album Nothing Can Bring Back The
Hour quickly became his favourite record of the year. Bringing them to the label was a way of
ensuring their unique music could continue to bloom and also reach a much wider set of ears.
Overnight will be the duo’s first album to be released in the US, with a tour to follow. In an interview
with The Guardian, Geoff described Josienne and Ben as “a sublime and important act.”

Despite being entirely self-financed, self-produced, self-arranged and released on the Folk Room
label they co-run, Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour brought Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker an
extraordinary and unexpected amount of attention. They won Best Duo at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards
– a major achievement at any stage of an artist’s career. And their ovation-stirring rendition of the
traditional ballad The Banks of The Sweet Primroses at the televised awards ceremony prompted 6
Music DJ Cerys Matthews to invite them to appear in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country's Good
at The National Theatre. Josienne and Ben were incredibly honoured (and not a little daunted) to
perform two original compositions in the production. The Financial Times review of the play said
“Josienne Clarke sings like a haunted angel.”

While much of their music is characterised by lush chamber ensemble orchestrations, what truly sets
them apart is the combination of Josienne’s divinely nuanced, emotionally affecting voice and Ben’s
intricately expressive, adroit guitar technique. They cite Sandy Denny, June Tabor, Nic Jones and
Pierre Bensusan as respective influences but theirs is a captivating sound that’s all their own.

Although Ben Walker (who grew up in Worcestershire) studied classical guitar from childhood and
Josienne Clarke (from West Sussex) is a classical music degree dropout, both are keen to stress that
they’re “bog standard comprehensive school kids” who didn’t benefit from a conservatoire
education. The elegance and sophistication of their music comes entirely from their own discipline,
rigour and craft. To emphasise the point, Josienne has been known to quip: “We’re not posh, just
pretentious!”

This self-deprecating humour is key to their much-loved live shows. Given Josienne’s often
devastatingly sad and poetic lyrics, and the frequently death and doom-laden nature of the songs
they interpret, she feels it’s only fair to lighten the mood. The misery, mirth and sheer beauty of
their performances has taken them to such auspicious stages as Cambridge Folk Festival, Bristol’s
Colston Hall and London’s Purcell Rooms. A far cry from the pub backrooms and sparsely attended
acoustic nights where they began.

The way this duo inhabit songs that are sometimes centuries old, making them personal and present
again, while also pricking the heart with their own tales of everyday love and loss makes the music of
Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker a rare and precious thing.