Josienne Clarke & Kit Downes – Such A Sky
Self Released – 5 June 2017
More commonly found in the musical company of Ben Walker, award-winning folk singer Josienne Clarke has partnered with Mercy Prize nominated jazz pianist Kit Downes for Such a Sky, an EP that touches loosely on both genres in the form of three original and two unlikely covers.
Taking the former first, Out Of View is one of two Clarke compositions, a familiarly melancholic, minimal and airy number about never quite connecting given an almost languid 30s feel with Downes’ light piano accompaniment. Her second also closes proceedings; the no less delicate Undo treating on regret and conjuring thoughts of Sandy Denny, the piano here marginally more sonorous with Downes also providing the muted harmonium fade.
They collaborate on Beyond The Green, he providing he music, she the lyrics, the piano more in evidence on a traditional-like pastoral about breaking out of the walls (a metaphor here for fear and anxiety) to embrace the world outside.
The two covers are as diverse as they are surprising, the first being a hushed, delicate delivery of Lionel Bart’s Who Will Buy from Oliver, Downes accompanying Clarke’s understated yearning with descending piano scales that underscore the song’s sadness. A stage musical of a very different scale yields the final track in Do Not Delay, their piano-accompanied arrangement of an English rendering of Susanna’s aria Deh Vieni Non Tardar from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Le Nozze De Figaro who showcases Clarke’s ability to slide fluidly across the scales in appropriately classical mode.
Whether this is a one-off or a prelude to further collaborations remains to be seen, but, for now, just enjoy the propagated fruit from two different but entwined musical orchards.
Order via Bandcamp here: https://josienneclarke.bandcamp.com/album/such-a-sky-2