National Folk Festival Interview: Kaurna Cronin

Kaurna Cronin
Image Courtesy of Kaurna Cronin

After winning the Folk Alliance Youth Award at last year’s National Folk Festival Adelaide singer-songwriter Kaurna Cronin returns with a full band and a new album. We sat down with Cronin to talk about the massive year he’s had.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You released Glass Fool in July last year. It’s been getting a lot of really good press – how are you feeling 6 months on? Has the album settled into itself?

Kaurna Cronin: It was such a lengthy process going into it I kind of felt, just after recording process, that it was a little bit stale. But then going on tour and releasing it with the band we adapted it for a live performance and that really gave it a lot more life and energy – that felt really good. Six months down the track it’s still a pleasure travelling around playing it. And we’re adding a lot of new songs that will be coming with the release of the new album too. We’re excited to do that too after The National.

GHE: I didn’t realise there was a new album in the works.

KC: Yeah. We’re piecing it all together now. I think it will be around July this year that we try to get it out to everybody.

GHE: Last year a massive year for you with quite a big overseas tour through Europe, the album release, a couple of Australian tours and of course you scored the Folk Alliance Youth Award at The National last year. Have you recovered yet?

KC: It was an amazing year and it was amazing to have the support of the team at Folk Alliance too. That was really amazing. And to be able to do Woodford and the Fleurieu Folk Festival and all these amazing festivals. It’s been amazing to keep really busy. All of those European shows were a lot of fun with the band over there. The Christmas period was lovely for a bit of recovery but it’s really never ending. We’ve been working on the new album pretty intensively and we’re coming up to The National and Port Fairy and the Blue Mountains Folk Festival so that’s going to be a pretty busy period too.

GHE: What was the process behind winning the Folk Alliance Youth Award?

KC: It was unexpected really. We got nominated to be a part of the showcase at the National Folk Festival last year. I’d never been to The National so it was more just going along and being part of it – we didn’t really realise it was a competition as such. So we went up and played a couple of songs and at the end they said “you guys are the winners”. It was kind of weird and we didn’t really know what we got. But it’s been amazing working with them – they’re super helpful.

GHE: What’s the prize for that?

KC: It’s essentially a collaborative work with them for twelve months. They’ve got a lot of connections with a lot of festival bookers. And a big part of it is going over to the Folk Alliance International showcase in Kansas City in the United States. That’s industry meets and establishing a network over in the States.

GHE: I first came across your music through the rest of the Adelaide folk scene – people like Tom West and Todd Sibbin. It’s a really interconnected scene down there with everyone playing together and recording on each other’s albums. And it feels like everyone from that scene has really started to focus on the Folk Festival circuit – has that been a conscious effort from you?

KC: I don’t know if it was conscious but it’s definitely sort of evolved in that way. A lot of the projects I’ve been involved with have really pushed for that triple j market or national touring but I think for me I really just wanted to release an album that I was proud of and working collaboratively with different musicians who could add different, unique styles. I think through that, and keeping on writing songs, we’ve been lucky enough to land lots of these folk festivals and keen engaging with people.

GHE: And the folk festival audiences seem to really like you. They’re a pretty unique audience in that they’re a listening audience. You go and play at a folk festival, whether it’s Woodford or Cygnet or whatever, and the people who come to your shows are there to hear you and are super attentive and engaged.

KC: They are the best crowds for sure. At a folk festival in particular people are going along to be there, to have the experience. I think it’s really beautiful, the appreciation for the artist, that comes from a folk festival.

GHE: And people a very open to different types of music as well.

KC: It’s an eclectic mix. I thought it was amazing up at Woodford – you had Marlon Williams and then you walk around the corner and it’s MC Briggs. The diversity was crazy.

GHE: So talking about The National in particular: You’re back this year in an officially capacity. Are you looking forward to playing the 50th anniversary of the festival?

KC: Yeah! Last year was my first time at The National and I was blown away. It’s an amazing festival and there’s so many great artists. I’m really excited – this is going to be the first major festival that I’ll be playing with the full band. We’ll be doing songs from the Glass Fool album and also new songs that will be on the latest album too. It’s going to be a really good opportunity to play them live to one of those beautiful folk festival audiences.

GHE: And then after The National are there more shows planned?

KC: We’ll be touring for the single in May. But other than that we’ve just got Port Fairy and the Blue Mountains Folk Festival. After this run of festivals we’ll start releasing all the singles and then we’ll be going overseas in July/August touring Germany, Belgium and Sweden for a couple of months.

GHE: You just can’t get enough of Europe.

KC: It’s always good to get away from the winter blues.

GHE: That so much Kaurna for chatting with me today. Hopefully we’ll catch up at The National. Good luck with everything you’ve got on this year!

KC: Cheers Gareth, appreciate it.

Upcoming dates for Kaurna Cronin, including all of his shows at the National Folk Festival, are below:

Friday 11th to Monday 14th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March – Blue Mountains Folk Festival, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
– Friday 4pm – Scrumpy
– Saturday 10:30am – The Majestic
– Sunday 1am – Scrumpy

1 Comment

  1. March 11, 2016 at 15:41

    […] “We got nominated to be a part of the [Folk Alliance] showcase at the National Folk Festival last year. I’d never been to The National so it was more just going along and being part of it – we didn’t really realise it was a competition as such. So we went up and played a couple of songs and at the end they said “you guys are the winners”. It was kind of weird and we didn’t really know what we got. But it’s been amazing working with them – they’re super helpful” – Kaurna Cronin chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here […]


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