A Lower Sixth pupil from Giggleswick School is about to release a single with emerging Zulu reggae artist Ras d Bongs after the pair met on a National Army Cadet Force trip to KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.
Wil Richmond, who is a Cadet Sergeant in the School’s Combined Cadet Force, also plays guitar in the band Shrymp Inc. All pupils at Giggleswick join the combined Cadet Force in Year 10 and it is then optional from Year 11. Now in the Sixth Form, Wil has thrived in the Cadet Force, being presented with a prize from the Yorkshire Society as an Outstanding Cadet. The Combined Cadet Force focuses on training within the three sections, the Army, the RAF and the Marines with the school one of only 18 Royal Marines Detachments in the UK.
Wil chose to take part in the 5 day canoe course down the Tugela River as part of a 3 week expedition in South Africa. During the acclimatisation phase Wil had "one of the best experiences in his life" seeing and joining in with Zulu dancing on a starry night around an open fire in the Zingela Reserve. After being invited to spend the night at the chief’s music, Wil decided it was his turn to entertain the hosts and borrowed a guitar to perform some of his music.
Ras d Bongs, an emerging Zulu reggae artist, had taken time off work to meet the visiting cadets and at the end of the evening invited Wil to his studio in Durban where he wanted to add some African background to the track as a cross-cultural collaboration. A week later and after spending time in a wheelchair following a back injury, Wil was able to take a day out of his expedition and travelled over 100km to the Durban studio. Wil said of the experience
"I would never have imagined when I was packing for my cadet trip that it would end with me recording a single with a Zulu Reggae artist in Durban! The last few weeks have been really exciting as Bongs emails me more versions of the track and I’ve learnt so much about collaborating and world music."
The track "Somebody Like You" will be available online soon in four countries including the UK. A percentage of all profits will be donated to welfare projects in rural KwaZulu Natal.