Find Carl at
Songwriter, lawyer, author, ethnomusicologist and former Brazilian pop star Carl Cleves, originally from Belgium, is a contemporary of Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, John Martyn and other songwriters that emerged in the 1960s and 70s and with whom he shared the stages of the London folk clubs during the time of the folk boom.
Unlike the others who stayed in the scene, Carl’s wanderlust led him to a life of travelling, guitar in hand, to Africa, Asia, the Pacific, South America and Australia, where he has now settled. Along the way he has acquired a loyal following in Europe, Brazil and Australia while avoiding the radar of the international music industry.
Carl's nomadic past results in highly original songs which have won many awards in world & roots categories - most recently, MUSICOZ & Australian Songwriters Association - BEST FOLK SONG AWARDS.
Carl's unmistakable guitar style was learnt from Brazilian players, bluesmen, Bert Jansch & Caetano Veloso, from the American banjo and the arabic oud. Traces of Brazil, Africa, folk and blues are the spice in the stew of Carl's songs that range from polyrhythmic exuberance to intimate subtlety, the personal to the political. Poetry and emotion
‘An extraordinary tour of wild times and wilder places. I have laughed, gasped and loved very startling page. ’ Jeni Caffin
From the Sudan to Northern New South Wales, Tarab is an epic, mesmerising tale of high adventure and the search for meaning. Carl Cleves escapes national service in Belgium to live in South Africa at the height of the apartheid era. So begin the adventures and quests, wanderings and narrow escapes, mishaps and illuminations of a guitar-toting troubadour in his roles as young beat poet, law student, single father, relief worker in India and recording star in Brazil. Cleves’s page turning memoir is no simple music biography, but rather the travel story of an artist’s quest for tarab: a place where music and poetry bestow true bliss upon the lucky one. It’s by turns philosophical, funny, adventurous and insightful.
Fully revised and expanded, this new edition of Tarab is a must read for all lovers of travel literature. The new edition features two extra chapters and the book has increased to 400 pages It includes Cleves’ time in Sydney working at the late Petersons’ Music Shop and his early years living in Northern New South Wales at the height of the back to the land movement.
Available in all good bookshops or online in print or digital format
Transit Lounge Publishing
The follow-up CD after ‘Out of Australia’ on Stockfisch Records
"Brillante Produktion mit wunderschönen Melodien!" ***** Matthias Pack
|site design graeme batterbury|