With a rare gift for poetic melancholy, Josienne’s songs have been described as “extraordinary” (Mojo), “gently exquisite” (The Observer) and “full of depth” (The Telegraph). While the world music bible Songlines said, “Clarke’s dark, complex imagery in the lyrics pushes the songs into rich metaphorical territory, one of the heart and of self-enquiry.” American Songwriter magazine named Josienne one of the best songwriters of 2016.
Having been awed by a live performance at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, 6 Music DJ Cerys Matthews arranged for Josienne to act and sing in The National Theatre’s revival of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good. In addition to performing on the Olivier stage each night – in a role specially created for her – Josienne contributed two of her own songs to the play. In their review of the acclaimed production, The Financial Times said, “Josienne Clarke sings like a haunted angel.” It marked the start of a continued relationship with the National Theatre which has included composing songs for a new adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, with acclaimed young playwright Zoe Cooper.
With an elegant, nuanced and emotionally affecting singing style (Cerys Matthews described her as having a voice that can “trickle back over centuries”) Josienne has frequently been compared to the great Sandy Denny, but present too are elements of Nina Simone and Gillian Welch; all three are important influences on her work.
Expanding beyond the folk music for which she was first known, Josienne has partnered with rising star jazz pianist Kit Downes to release the Such A Sky EP. And her friendship with London-based Scottish singer songwriter Samantha Whates has bloomed into new group PicaPica, whose debut album will be released by Rough Trade. fRoots magazine has already described the band’s sound as “originally exciting”.