In their brief career as a duo Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker have proved to be a formidable pairing, captivating audiences and exploring their innate talents in the studio. Both classically trained Josienne 's debut release 'One Light Is Gone' saw her compared to Sandy Denny, whereas, Ben's guitar filters Jansch, Simpson and many greats into a palette of a thousand complimentary colours. Recent album 'The Seas Are Deep' tackles the great trad songbook and 'Homemade Heartache' is their unique blend of Anglo-American styles. They also love a drop of Rosie Lee! Here Josienne and Ben take us through their story.
When did you meet? And did you connect musically straight away?
2008: (Ben) I was playing in an indie band and happened to play some acoustic guitar at a mutual friend of ours' house. He suggested that if I could play acoustic guitar as well as I was playing, why wasn't I pursuing it further. I said I didn't know any folk singers and he promptly introduced me to Josienne who was looking for a guitarist. (Josienne) Musically, we connected pretty much right away. Socially we're still waiting!
Did either of you reach a performance stage with your classical training?
(Ben) I got to grade 8 but didn't go in for a performance diploma. Studying for hour-long recitals wasn't something I wanted to do, when it was more fun making loud noises in rock bands.
(Josienne) I studied classical music at university specialising in classical singing however after a few disastrous recitals I realised it wasn't likely to be a career for me.
Is the recorder one of the great unappreciated instruments?
(Josienne) Yes! People usually only hear "London's Burning" murdered on it by a 7 year old! Played properly it actually has quite a pleasant sound.
Are there any other instruments/players you would like to add?
(Josienne) Cello, Violin. I'm determined to get my tenor saxophone onto something at some point!
(Ben) Cello would be great, as would double bass.
Which folk songs were always going to be on your The Seas Are Deep collection and which came later?
(Josienne) "Lily Of The West", since it was the first folk song I ever learnt. "Silver Dagger" and "Rain and Snow" we used to play live all the time.
(Ben) "The Seas Are Deep" was one of the last tracks we decided on, though it managed to become the album title too.