Award-winning composer invites Barking schoolchildren to open freshwater folk music gig

PUBLISHED: 13:10 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:03 09 October 2017

Kerry Andrew (Picture: Andrew Furlow)

Kerry Andrew (Picture: Andrew Furlow)

Andrew Furlow

An award-winning musician has teamed up with Barking schoolchildren to perform folk songs about freshwater.

Artist Kerry Andrew, 39, invited pupils from Eastbury Community School, Hulse Avenue, to be the opening act on her new tour.

She ran a workshop last month to inspire Year 9 children with thoughts of rivers, streams and springs. Four further weekly sessions with education specialist Jack Durtnall helped turn their ideas into songs.

The pupils will perform the best compositions at her band You Are Wolf’s upcoming gig at Studio 3 Arts.

“I’m really keen as an artist to work with local communities,” said Kerry, who taught music at Croydon’s famous BRIT school and a north west London primary. “That love of teaching and wanting to involve non-professional musicians in a lot of my music making stayed with me.”

The band are touring Keld, a collection of songs about freshwater folklore named after the old English word for a river’s deepest, stillest part.

For inspiration, Kerry visited rivers and lakes across the country, uncovering tales of witches, wishing girls and water sprites.

She also joined the Silk River walk and met barge-dwellers on the River Roding.

“I just like talking to people,” she said. “So I made these texts of different people speaking about the river and their interaction with it.

“Instead of just dropping in, you get a real feel for the local area you’re working in and the community.”

A blend of folk, experimental pop and classical, the resulting songs mixed these stories with topics ranging from the Dakota Access pipeline protests to simple celebrations of swimming.

Folk songs around rivers, said Kerry, were often more inward-looking than salty sea shanties.

“We’re a small island nation,” she said, “and so, historically, a lot of our trade has been to do with the sea.

“The ocean, by nature, is grand and suggests epic journeys.”

This allows for sweeping tales of lost lovers and far-flung lands, she added.

“But the same themes are there,” said Kerry. “It’s love, loss and revenge.”

You Are Wolf play Studio 3 Arts at 7.30pm on October 20. Tickets for adults are £6 and £3 for children.

To book, visit

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