See my full performance at the first European Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival

It was an honour to open the first ever European Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival which took place in my part of the world : Exeter, Devon, at The Phoenix Arts Centre. I decided to put together a set that shows the range of what the guitar can do (as I see it) playing instrumental pieces and songs and using standard and extended techniques. For the longest time I have been in love with the level of expression that the guitar provides for me as a composer and a player.

When I was University (Guitar Institute 2003-6) I worked on extended techniques on acoustic guitar for some time before I found others who were doing the same, so I felt very connected to the spirit of creativity and personal discovery when I was starting to play percussively/lap style. It was a very magical time for me and it was my own journey. In fact, what can be achieved on the guitar still feels magical to me and I find myself moved and astounded every time I discovered a new sound that has been hiding in the acoustic guitar perhaps for hundreds of years. In this set I use altered tunings, play in standard position and with the guitar on my lap, also play a duet with an old friend – Kevin Harding – and another with a new friend Sando Norton and South West Dance Hub. Guitarlele and ukulele also feature.

Hope you enjoy watching this performance as much as I enjoyed giving it.
-Kimwei

Kimwei to open Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival 2022

Hi all,

I’m really thrilled to be opening up the first ever Fingerstyle Guitar Festival in Europe, which we’re lucky enough to have here in Devon at the Exeter Phoenix.

I’ll be running an exclusive Masterclass in extended acoustic guitar techniques at 11am on Friday 9th Sept in order to kick the festival off, and then playing a full set at 1pm.

I’ve been working with the festival sponsor G7th Capos to get to grips with how capos can be used as an inspirational composition tool, and will be debuting my new compositions: A song, a solo guitar piece and a solo ukulele piece.

It’s so much fun to be back playing fingerstyle guitar again, after a break for the Pandemic. Join me, at Exeter Phoenix on Friday Sept 9th.

TICKETS

New Original Song to Celebrate Pride 2022: Come Out With Me Tonight

My fiancee Emily and I made a home video to celebrate Pride 2022 (London Pride is today, 2nd July). This song is about when you have to ask someone to accept a drop in privilege in order to be in a relationship with you, meaning they start experiencing discrimination in areas where they didn’t before. It’s something that can be hard to talk about and coming out isn’t always easy.

Please share this with anyone who needs to hear it, whether it might be for them or for someone they know. Sending love out to all those in the world who simply can’t come out because it’s a threat to their safety. Also, remembering that coming out and experiencing a privilege drop doesn’t just happen to the LGBTQ+ community, but to those who are disabled, neuro-different, those with invisible cultural heritages, activists and many more. We salute you. Let love find you.

Share this song:
Facebook Video: https://fb.watch/d-Keq_Vsqa/
Download audio: https://kimwei.bandcamp.com/track/come-out-with-me-tonight-for-pride-2022

COME OUT WITH ME TONIGHT, by Kimwei, July 2022

VERSE 1
Will you dare to hold my hand
and get shot down where you stand?
Oh everybody warned you.
Will you dare to hold my hand?
Did you have your whole life planned
and loving me will turn it upside down?
Oh never mind my darling
let it turn upside down.

CHORUS 1
Come out with me tonight.
It’s not gonna be alright.
Oh everybody told you
it’s not gonna be alright.
Come out with me tonight.
We won’t win if we get in a fight
Oh never mind my darling,
come out with me tonight.

VERSE 2
Will you be here by my side
when my entry is denied?
Oh everybody warned you, will you be here by my side?
Did you hope to reach the stars
instead of walking down my path?
Oh never mind my darling.
Will you walk with me down this path?

CHORUS 2

BRIDGE
‘cause we’ll lose and we will win
each other again and again and again.
Oh and everyone will tell you
how they knew that we would win.
And our path will catch the sun
and be seen by everyone
and everyone will follow
as we walk towards the sun.

CHORUS 3
Come out with me tonight.
It’s going to be alright.
Oh everybody will tell you
how they knew we would be alright
Come out with me tonight.
We won’t have to put up a fight,
Oh ‘cause everyone will love us
as we walk towards the light.

OUTRO
Come out with me tonight x3
Oh ‘cause everyone will love us.
Come out with me tonight.

Will you dare to hold my hand?

Kimwei to open Europe’s First Fingerstyle Guitar Festival

Wow! How amazing to see myself in this video with all these amazing guitarists! Me, Thomas Leeb, Antonio Forcione, Chris Woods, Kevin Harding and many more, at Exeter Phoenix, weekend of 9th-11th Sept?? GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! https://exeterphoenix.org.uk/events/fingerstyle-collective-guitar-festival/

Turns out that Europe’s first ever Fingerstyle Guitar festival is actually in Exeter (they must have KNOWN I was here!) and I’ll be opening it! Couldn’t be more thrilled and I’m SO looking forward to this weekend. Stay tuned over the coming months as I reveal my new vision for the acoustic guitar as I work towards my new album and giving you tasters of the brand new material I’ll be playing at The Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival!

Stand Your Ground – my song for the people of Ukraine

With love in my heart I wrote this song on March 2nd 2022 for the people of the Ukraine and recorded and uploaded it online as soon as I could. I was thrilled to have receive news that within 24hrs it had reached some people in the Ukraine. One woman wrote, “My family is at the Polish border right now. Your angel song has helped.”

Next a crowd of people joined me in Totnes and we sang the song together.

After that I was joined by an international group of 25 singers for this incredible splitscreen video performance.

We have this to say about the above:

“We are a group of professional singers and beginner singers who have come together – these are our voices, sending love in solidarity with Ukraine at this time. It’s worth also saying that despite the lyrics of the song focusing on Ukraine itself, there is no reason not to send this song out to all affected in any country affected by this conflict. Because I wanted the song to send our message in its most natural form, no auto tune or corrective editing has been used. Singers include two Ukrainian refugees who crossed the border safely only a few days ago, as well as singers in 8 different countries in total. We are sending angels now, with love from:

  • Kimwei McCarthy, Grand Bard of Exeter, UK
  • Ami Jo Lee, Singer, Devon UK
  • Laura Kamau, Singer, UK
  • Liz Franklin-Kitchen, Royal Opera, UK
  • Phil Hogg, Singer, Totnes UK
  • Tammy (Singer) & David Heathfield (Storyteller) Exeter UK
  • Tom Pottage, Musician, Nottingham UK
  • Adrianne Greenbaum, Singer & Professor of Flute at Mount Holyoke College USA
  • Jennifer Parnall, Singer, Spain/Canada
  • Kimaya Gurung, Storyteller, Kathmandu Nepal
  • Laura Collins, Singer/Vocal Coach, Birmingham UK
  • Oli Savill, Musician
  • Emily Grossman, Singer, Totnes UK
  • Andii Diamond, Singer, Birmingham UK
  • Marina Rolink, Singer, Glasgow UK
  • Alla Goeksu, Storyteller, with family and friends, Germany & Ukraine

You can donate to support the people suffering because of the war through any of the following

Red Cross: https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal

Unicef: https://www.unicef.org.uk/

Disasters Emergency Committee: https://www.dec.org.uk/

Thank you to the people of Totnes for singing with me, to St Mary’s Church for having us, and especially to Chris Dance for organising. Please share this video far and wide to encourage as many people as possible to send prayers, hope and angels to Ukraine. If you can send this to anyone in Ukraine or refugees of Ukraine, even better, since at this time morale is so important.

Download my solo version of this song free: https://kimwei.bandcamp.com/track/stand-your-ground-for-the-people-of-ukraine

See my Version of the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdN2CFOFUjo

Kimwei Reflects on The Pandemic for BBC Spotlight

My poem “Pandemic Reflections” was featured on BBC Spotlight to celebrate a year of my “artist in residence” creative work for Sarah Gosling’s Arts and Culture show on BBC Radio Devon as the Grand Bard of Exeter.
“Kimwei McCarthy, who is the Grand Bard of Exeter, created a series of Pandemic Pieces for BBC Radio Devon’s Arts and Culture Show [presented by Sarah Gosling]. Well, 12 months into that process he’s compiled a spoken word reflection on a year unlike any other.” Thanks to Sarah for your ongoing support, and to John Danks for doing an amazing job of shooting and editing this item.
-Kimwei (he/him)

Kimwei and Dr Emily Grossman at The Embodiment Conference

I so enjoyed presenting a session on Embodied Activism at this amazing event, the likes of which have never been seen before. Over 1000 sessions ran over the course of 12 days and I was thrilled to attend several transformative sessions and I’m sure I’ll be working through the bank of recorded sessions for months to come. There were keynote sessions from some of the planet’s best teachers – such as Peter Levine, Tara Brach, Dr. Gabor Maté, Ken Wilber, Stephen Porges, Charles Eisenstein, Betty Martin, Jack Kornfield and many more.

Emily and I presented a session we designed specifically for the conference: “Emergency on Planet Earth: Guiding Environmental Activists through Environmental Crises in an Embodied Way”

Here’s how we described the session:
Let’s move from panic to power – and use the wisdom of our own bodies to be the most effective activists we can be and stay healthy
With all that we face in 2020, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and paralysed, or even to try to fix it all and burn out. In this free online session at the Embodiment Conference, , Kimwei and I will lead you through a process in which you can find your most empowered inner activist through harnessing the wisdom of your nervous system, grounding you in a state of both power and peace. You’ll learn more about the climate and ecological emergency and learn more about yourself and how you want to act in response.
If you’d like to have access to all the recordings from the embodiment conference, including ours, it’s available to buy through this link:

Wishing you an embodied Winter

-Kimwei (he/him)

Stand Up For The Artists – A New Song for BBC Radio Devon

This song was written for BBC Radio Devon, Oct 15th 2020, as an anthem for the arts which are suffering at the moment.

Buy track

So many of the key moments in my life took place at a live performance of some kind, from seeing a busker to seeing a huge concert or a play. Its so important that we support our creatives so that they can support us. That’s all I have to say – the song says the rest…

 

with love

-Kimwei (he/him)

Non-Binary Lives is The Independent’s “Top Pick For Pride Month”

I’m thrilled to announce that my first book chapter has not only been published, but the groundbreaking book “Non-Binary Lives” which collects the stories of non-binary transgender people, has been picked by The Independent as their number one LGBTQ+ book for 2020.

This beautifully curated collection of essays is a welcome tonic in a cultural climate that seems hellbent on misunderstanding and misrepresenting those who do not fall into gender binaries. With a focus on intersections, this anthology specifically aims to examine the ways in which a person’s other identities – such as being a parent, having a faith, being black or having a disability – intersect with their non-binary identity.

Click here to read the full article!