A chance meeting, during a CCF/ACF canoeing expedition in South Africa in 2016, has led to Sgt Wil Richmond from Giggleswick School, releasing a musical track (Somebody Like You) with the emerging Zulu reggae artist Ras D Bongs.
On one of the first nights of the South African expedition, the cadets walked 8km to the nearest village to spend an evening as guests of the chief. After the evening meal the cadets and their Zulu hosts took part in an evening of song and dance, a regular event in rural KwaZulu Natal. Wil, a talented musician and singer / songwriter joined in enthusiastically, using a borrowed guitar to perform some recent UK pieces and one or two of his own compositions.
A fellow guest was Ras D Bongs, an emerging Zulu reggae artist, and friend of the chief. Bongs took a real interest in one of Wil's compositions and invited him to his studio in Durban, to record it with some African background.
Wil said: 'I was having a wonderful time anyway - it really was a fantastic, magical experience so when Bongs asked me to go to Durban to record it I was really happy.'
A short time later Wil took a day out of the expedition to travel over 100km to the Durban studio to work with Ras on the track.
Wil, a pupil in the Lower Sixth Form at Giggleswick School, regularly plays in local venues with his band Shrymp Inc. but he has been in frequent contact with Bongs to put the finishing touches to their musical collaboration.
According to Wil: '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 song is now available online on iTunes, Spotify and other music stations and a percentage of the profits will be donated to welfare projects in rural KwaZulu Natal.
Read more about Wil's unexpected adventure, and hear his music on Stray FM.
Listen to more of Wil's music on his facebook page.