Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker are the green shoots growing from the very top of the English folk family tree. They sit comfortably on the shoulders of giants, grasping the basic tenet that folk music is not born from the studio but is passed down organically through the generations.
The two classically-trained musicians plunder old songbooks and the local musical customs of their hometowns in Sussex and Worcestershire to shed new light on forgotten verses. From the songs of Sandy Denny to the poems of Robert Burns, they pay respect to the masters and are unafraid to flaunt their influences.
Today marks the release of their second album, their first for staunchly independent folk label Navigator (home to Bellowhead, Lucy Ward, Heidi Talbot). Fire and Fortune boasts a mix of their own songs and reworked traditional pieces, and promises to cement the pair as a going concern in modern folk circles.
Though influenced by the likes of Richard and Linda Thompson, Shirley Collins, Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and June Tabor, Fire and Fortune reveals the ambition of two musicians eager to cut their own path through traditional English music.
Josienne and Ben have been working together since 2009, and were quick to win critical acclaim for their early gigs and releases. Last year they picked up the prestigious Isambard Folk Award, while Josienne received a Fatea award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
They’ve played as a duo alongside living legends such as Martin Simpson and Steve Tilston, and have just completed a tour of Germany and the Netherlands. They will be celebrating the release of their new album with a string of UK dates from now to October, dates below.
Upcoming tour dates
|25 July||Sunray Folk Club, Dorset|
|26 July||Cambridge Folk Festival|
|2 August||West End Club, South Glamorgan|
|8 August||Loughton Folk Club, Loughton|
|9-11 August||Broadstairs Folk Week, Broadstairs|
|24-26 August||Purbeck Folk Festival, Swanage|
|2 September||The Green Note, London|
|13 September||South Lakes Music Partnership, Cumbria|
|18 September||The Portland Arms, Cambridge|
|20 September||Grayshott Folk Club, Surrey|
|28 September||Old Cinema Launderette, County Durham|
|4 October||Focsle Folk Club, Southampton|