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!
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
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.
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.
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:
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…
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.
For the past 14 weeks I have produced a spoken word piece every 2 weeks for Sarah Gosling’s Arts show on BBC Radio Devon. After working with the title “Today’s Calls” for the first 6 pieces, last week I changed to “Only in 2020”, because this year is such a unique one. I think most people will think of their lives in years to come in terms of ‘pre-2020’ and ‘post-2020’. I’m keen to keep representing Devon’s experiences as this unusual and historic year goes on.
Wishing you all as well as you can be wishes in these times of Covid 19 and lockdown.
You’ll find me on BBC Radio Devon, every other Thursday on Sarah Gosling’s Arts show (Evenings on BBC Radio Devon) reading Pandemic inspired poems which honour some of the various varied experiences that we are all having in lockdown – from disconnection to connection, from beauty to loss to joy.
I am currently in Lockdown in Exmouth, Devon, teaching BA and Masters students in Music through AMSonline which has been at the forefront of Higher Education in Music online since 2015. Check out their life-changing courses here
I’m also beginning to provide independent coaching for musicians, writers and creatives through Skype, or for those looking to teach online themselves. Email me to arrange a preliminary call if this interests you.
Watch out for updates on BardOfExeter.com as spoken word events continue to grow and thrive online. Check out the Bard of Exeter What’s On page to find out how you can join in.
Each year BBC Local Radio teams up with specially chosen poets to create sparkling new poems for broadcast on National Poetry Day. This year, I was chosen to represent Devon, to write a poem that challenges stereotypes and celebrates the delights of the County.
Because You Invited Me (full version)
by Kimwei McCarthy
Home Truths poem for Devon
Invite me over to your favourite cafe
somewhere on the river Dart
where it trickles between our past and our future,
or invite me to your house
where it rests like a barnacle on a hilltop
near a stone circle
where we shall take tea together.
In ancient times you moved the earth
turning woodland to moorland,
clearing pastures for grazing
just so you could live together,
allowing the wildness of gorse and heather
to care for itself
whilst caring for you.
Then, you stopped being so careful
and began building cities,
cutting through this county,
cutting through each other with big ideas
until you were burning and hanging women,
Now you are sorry
and honour those killed
and welcome magic back
and remember who you were before that all started
with every moment that you invite me in.
Bring out your finest china
and tell me the story of an outcast wife
who won back her family
by returning from exile
with the secret of clotted cream –
tell me to remind me that this place is my home,
as you take up the butter-knife,
spread a cloud on a scone,
place it in my hand.
I hold it up to the window,
so it seems to twin a cloud in the sky
and I think how similar two things can be and how different
and yet how right they can look next to each other.