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Ferry Folk: Rant and Rebellion

Ferry Folk, image by Dan Donovan

Brandon Ferry Tales Adventures take you to an interview with a Folk musician Michael Willett from “Rant & Rebellion”. Brandon Ferry Tales was launched at the Ram Hotel with a Folk NightFerry Folk was a traditional folk music and dance event featuring performances by Rant & Rebellion, a new band formed by members of the Brandon Folk Collective, and the Top Ceilidh Band who provided the music for some fun and energetic folk dancing, 

Rant & Rebellion are Mike Willett, Alison Barnes, Paddy Butcher and friends. Formed just for Ferry Folk, the group specialises in writing folk songs in a traditional East Anglian style that are based on stories from Brandon’s fascinating history and all performed on reproduction heritage instruments made by founding member, Mike Willett. Paddy Butcher is a professional folk musician and Ali Barnes is a local artist based in Brandon. 

How did you get involved within Ferry Tales?

I am a folk musician and a musical instrument maker. I make period instruments from Medieval to Renaissance. I was asked by Leigh Driver of West Suffolk Arts Centre, if I could find some other musicians/performers to play the instruments, write some folk songs loosely connected with Brandon’s history, make a CD of the songs and do a live performance. The name “Rant and Rebellion” was to reflect the fact that Brandon has been one of the most rebellious towns in the county going back as far as the peasant’s revolt, when Brandon was the headquarters of the rebel gang. Since then there have been several riots – the last one was only about one hundred years ago. This project enabled me to spend more time playing the instruments and finding out how they could best be used in folk music. I also met up with Ali Barns, who has turned out to be a really great folk singer with a fabulous voice and also a great songwriter. Ali brought in a friend Kerry Leicester for some vocal harmonies and I asked and old friend Paddy Butcher, who I played folk music with many years ago, and who is a folk singer in his own right now, to join us. So meeting up with all these wonderful people was great!

What was your most memorable time?

While the rehearsals were great fun but very pressured towards the end as we had to finish the CD in time I think that the Ferry Folk evening was a really memorable event with the Top Ceilidh Band’s brilliant performance and our own band playing to a packed and very appreciative audience.

Lasting memories of the day?

Enjoying an evening of folk music with old and new friends. — Mike Millett, Rant & Rebellion, musician and instrument maker

CDs are available at the Brandon Centre, Bury Road, Brandon, IP27 0BQ. You can just drop in and buy one from the reception. Contact: 01842 816100.

PLEASE EXPLORE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT