Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker: Exploring the Spectrum of Melancholy

The way British singer/songwriter Josienne Clarke describes herself — as the committed harbinger of melancholy — brings to mind the spirit, if not the letter, of Sir John Everett Millais’s haunting painting “Ophelia.” Capturing Shakespeare’s tragic character mere moments before she drowns herself, Millais positions her against a lush landscape so beautiful it contradicts the melancholy writ large across her face. He captures in a frame life’s duality: how the dark exists within the light, how everything contains at least a piece of its opposite. In music, Clarke captures a similar theme, fascinated as she is with the spectrum of melancholy. She and her musical partner, Ben Walker, have a penchant for sad songs, either penning original compositions or interpreting traditional folk tunes that take advantage of the weighted solemnity in her voice. Walker’s arrangements punctuate her writing without adding too much to what she’s saying or leaving her words so bare they freeze. It’s an approach which won them the 2015 BBC Folk Award for Best Duo. [Full article on The Bluegrass Situation.]

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like