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   John Clare was an english poet who lived from 1793 to 1864. He achieved a certain amount of celebrity and respect at the time - it was thought a novelty that a man from the rural working class could be a poet at all,let alone a gifted one, (unlike contemporaries Lord Byron,Coleridge or even John Keats ) and he was known as "the peasant poet".He drew on the folk tradition far more than most poets of his day - except for his great hero Robert Burns.He was an original in many ways - not least in the collecting and writing down of folk songs and music, long before the folk song movement got under way with Lucy Broadwood and Cecil Sharp towards the end of the nineteenth century.Coleridge wrote about "the poor man's only music" in one of his poems (meaning church bells) but Clare knew that poor people had plenty of music in their lives and he was familiar with it, being a keen fiddle player. I decided to try and put together a musical appreciation of his work - sometimes setting his poems to music, sometimes arranging his fiddle tunes.

 

 

 


  

 

Here are two tracks from the album "A Distance From The Town"