Kimpton Folk Festival fundraiser welcomes Wild Willy BArrett

Wild Willy

Wild Willy - Credit: Archant

Godfather of grunge-folk, Wild Willy Barrett, is appearing at a Kimpton Folk Festival fundraising gig next Saturday, April 23.

With his four-piece acoustic ensemble French Connection, Wild Willy, dubbed the godfather of grunge-folk, will be celebrating the release of the quartet’s new album at Kimpton Memorial Hall.

Joining Willy will be acclaimed French singer Aurora Colson, cellist Mary Holland, and Irish musician John Devine, who recently performed for the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

John recalled how he was lucky to be able to take up the Royal invitation after nearly losing his historical, priceless and irreplaceable set of pipes, which had to be dramatically rescued when the boat on which he was living with his family sank in 2009:

“I ran to the boat to find the case completely submerged. The pipes were left to dry gradually for almost two months in the hope that once re-assembled everything would be fine but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Extensive repairs had to be undertaken and they have only been fully restored to their former glory in the last two years.”


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Having learnt to play the ukelele at the age of four, Willy describes himself as ‘an experimental multi-instrumentalist.’ Best known for his outlandish partnership with John Otway, it is the gentler side of Willy that has emerged during his collaboration with the acoustic quartet.

He said: “Having worked with Mary and John for more than 10 years, I am delighted to be able to add French to the Irish/English mix. It has given us the chance to work on some interesting new arrangements, utilising the full range of instruments at our disposal to their full advantage, testing their scope to the limit. It has definitely widened our horizons.”

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The concert to raise funds for the inaugural Kimpton Folk Festival on July 9, starts at 8pm and tickets are £10 with free admission for under 16s.

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