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Folk Troubadour Clarke Camilleri Brings His Sound Back Home

11 August 19 interview: Becky Timmins

Notts born and bred, folk singer songwriter Clarke Camilleri is one dedicated guy. From running his own folk clubs to touring Belgium, we caught up with him ahead of a rare hometown show this month supporting Jinda Biant...

Photo Sebastian Kettley

When did you first start making music?
As far back as I can remember. My parents were always playing music around the house, especially early blues and rock ‘n’ roll. So writing music just seemed natural.

You were born and bred in Notts, but have been living in London for quite a few years now. Tell us all about this folk club of yours…..
The Queens Road Folk and Blues Club is a result of getting to know fellow folk musicians around London and looking for a great excuse to get everyone together. Myself and a couple of friends help to run the night, and we love it so much! Getting people together to sing, laugh and share music is a wonderful thing.

What got you so into folk music?
It was the sense of community within folk music. I moved down to London on my own a few years back and just started going to the folk clubs. A few years on, and the friends I made at those clubs are like family to me now.

And why do you think folk is still such a vital genre?
Because it’s about the people, the times we are in, and the lives we lead. It’s a genre that has such a wide reach – the songs and stories are found everywhere.

You toured around Belgium earlier this year, how was that?
It was great to share my music with people in other countries. As a musician, turning up to random bars where you have to win the crowd over was a great learning experience. I found it thrilling to introduce people to music they have never listened to before.

You’re supporting Jinda Biant at The Bodega this month. What are you looking forward to playing in your set?
Jinda Biant is a close friend of mine, with his roots in blues. So I’m really looking forward to playing my more bluesy folk material. I might bring my banjo along too…

How does the folk scene in Notts compare to London? We heard you used to cause quite a stir at the Carrington Triangle Folk Club up at The Gladstone a few years back….
I love the Nottingham folk scene. Wherever I am, I have a special place in my heart for it. At the Carrington Triangle Folk Club, everyone introduced me to songs and stories that I wouldn’t have heard anywhere else. They encouraged me to stand up and perform. I can’t thank them enough.

Tell us about the best gig you’ve ever played in Notts.
At The Gladstone! It was the launch night for my debut EP In His Mind back in 2016. I’ve got to say I am very much looking forward to playing back in my hometown at The Bodega on the 16th.

If you could duet with another artist, living or dead, who would you choose?
Hands down, Pete Seeger. That man left a legacy. His ethos will always live through all the music he ever shared. I would have loved the chance to sing with him.

If your music was a type of food, what would it be?
My Nan’s stew.

Clarke Camilleri will support Jinda Biant on Friday 16 August at The Bodega.

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