Holly Clarke 2018

Newcastle University awardee Holly Clarke, wins her award to help fund her ‘Holly and the Reivers’ album of original compositions. In addition, Yamaha is supporting her with a voucher to purchase some gear.


Holly Clarke is a traditional singer from the Lake District who was a semi-finalist in the BBC Young Folk Awards in 2016. Her voice and style echo the folk tradition, but her songs and stories resonate with people today.

Holly Writes:

Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity it’s a huge honour! I have grown up listening to a lot of different music but it was Bluegrass, Old Time and Traditional music of the UK and Ireland that really sparked my passion for music. I always sang but I began playing guitar at aged 11 and mandolin at 14. I was mostly self-taught, listening to Bluegrass albums and transatlantic sessions picking up what I could in terms of playing styles and tunes. As I began to research more into the folk tradition I discovered field recordings and also began collecting old Topic vinyl, which would eventually be my main source of finding repertoire. In 2015 I started on the BA Folk and Traditional music degree at Newcastle University and began working hard on developing my craft. While on this degree James Fagan has taught me Voice and Chris Newman has taught me Guitar and these two teachers have really shaped who I have become as a musician.

I know have my own band Holly and the Reivers and I will be starting a Masters in music in September 2018.

My Project Holly and The Reivers album.

The album will be an album of our repertoire and arrangements of traditional songs and also reflects our cross-genre sound, which blends old time banjo, Scottish fiddle and British and Irish ballads.  We will be recording this album at Newcastle University Music studios from June onwards and will hopefully be making a promo video with Ian Stephenson to promote it.  A lot of the songs have been collected from field recording compilations and archives and the tunes you hear are all tunes composed by me and members of the band.

This project aims to be something we can use to promote our live music and also something we can use to send to festivals and venues for further concert booking.

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