I’ve been a fan and a friend of Anni Clark ever since her first album “Maine-ly Original” came out in 1985 (I reviewed it at that time, too). It had been a while since we had last chatted, so when she called recently all excited about a new project and a new single, I knew it was time to re-up with an old friend. In setting up the phone interview, she told me that she had two special shows lined up. When the date and time came up, I called her on her cell phone when she was in Southport. And, no, she and I are not related, sad to say.

Q: We’re talking now about a couple of shows you have coming up — one at Slates in Hallowell on Oct. 28 and the other one in Portland on Oct. 24.
Clark: We are. As I speak to you, I am continuing to develop a program for that event, and you — thank goodness, Lucky — pointed out, when we were setting up this interview, that the 24th is United Nations Day which is so perfect for this event we’re planning.

Q: How so?
Clark: It’s called “A Concert for Climate Change: An Evening of Environmental Advocacy,” and we are inviting a number of different people and hoping that some of the environmentalists and scientists in the state can keep us up to speed on the changes that are happening now, and what we can expect with what that means for us in terms of adaptation in our lifestyle. We are still waiting for answers in that regard and we have feelers out in a number of places for that. We are committed to donating 50% of the proceeds that will be taken at the door to be donated to SolaRISE Portland.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about this organization?
Clark: It’s the vision of students to put solar panels on the rooftops of schools throughout the city. The students have worked hard to reach their goal of $25,000 and they are less than $5,000 away from that goal. Gus Goodwin, a 26-year teacher at King Middle School, is the advisor and mentor on Green Team efforts. He will be speaking at our event and he will bring some of his students to speak, as well.

Q: Now where is this taking place?
Clark: It’s at the U.S. Custom House on Fore Street in Portland from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and we are going to be asking for a $10-minimum donation at the door for people to come. I will be performing a short concert inclusive of my new single, “I’m With You Greta.” We will probably be streaming the video that Eric Bailey shot of the song, which, by the way, and I’m not sure I shared this with you earlier, we got a request about three weeks ago for permission to screen the video at the International Environmental Film Festival in Barcelona in November.

Q: Oh my goodness!
Clark: Yeah, it’s so very exciting, and at that festival they are honoring Greta Thunberg and her image is pretty much their image for this annual film festival this year. They are going to be using parts of my video in their social media outreach in advance of the event.


Q: Is this a road trip to Barcelona for you?
Clark: Well, you know, everybody’s asking me that, and I have gigs lined up, but I think they’re going to screen it specifically on this one day during their week-long event, which is Nov. 8; and I did look at my calendar, it’s not out of the question, but it’s a little bit of a reach for me given what I’m focused on right now.

Q: It does sound like you’re very busy nowadays.
Clark: Yeah, it’s been one beautiful connection leading into another this whole time. And I do need to mention Raffi DerSimonian. He’s so integral in so many awesome things that are arts, environmental and marketing oriented. As I was getting ready to write this song, I called him out of the blue and said, “I have this song in my head and an idea; it is so powerful, and I think you might want to know about it.” He said, “Talk to me.” So I did and he’s been helping me and working with me since that first phone call in March. Raffi’s going to be on board and he’s going to be the emcee of this event. It’s been amazing. The timing of this Greta Thunberg project has been perfect in light of the fact that I only began to really find myself musically and as a writer probably within the last year. It took me a year after retiring from teaching school and getting up and doing that five days a week to really find that person again, so I’m back!

Q: Oh, speaking of that, could you talk a bit about that second performance you have coming up, the one at Slates on the 28th. Have you played there recently?
Clark: (Laughter) No, I’m actually calling this my “Seven-Year Itch” concert. I have not performed at Slates in seven years, now I’m feeling solidly planted back in the universe as a singer-songwriter. That confidence is back and I’m going back to venues where I’ve always enjoyed singing — and Slates is at the top of my list!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the readers of this article — especially about this upcoming event in Portland on the 24th?
Clark: Yes, I would just encourage anybody of any age who is concerned about what’s happening to our planet, and the atmosphere, to just come and be part of this evening. I don’t want what happened at City Hall in Portland on Sept. 20 to stop there (we had 2,000 people there) and this is certainly going to be a lot less of a gathering, but we can continue the momentum and keep the dialogue going. I think that’s important.

Lucky Clark has spent 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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