2019 promises to be another exciting phase for Mr.Will in the exploration of fingerstyle guitar. Having received backing from the Arts Council England, via the DYCP fund, a series of collaborations with ten international artists will be recorded and made available via his YouTube channel, with tutorials and additional material being freely distributed for all aspiring guitarists. Sign up to the newsletter to be notified when new content is released!
ABOUT MR WILL
The creative talent behind the hugely successful musical outreach programmes ‘Planet Sound Community Arts’, “the Unity Foundation” and “Madula”, William Sherratt assigns much of the credit for his singular approach to the composition and playing music to his mixed race background.
Born to a white English father and Filipino mother, the performer who would develop an international reputation as under the stage persona “Mr Will” first picked up a guitar at the age of eight, already understanding that there was a world of music beyond MTV and Radio 1.
By his early teens, and while his peers were aping the trends of modern rock music, Mr Will’s imagination had already long since been captured by the challenges of what he calls “the timeless precision” of classical guitar and the “random precision” of playing modern Jazz.
He explained: “The concept of different cultures blending to create something new was literally brought home to me because I saw it every day with my parents, and this will always be part of my style of music and approach to performances. Growing up, I absorbed all sorts of music, and it didn’t really occur to me that this was Western or this was African or Eastern, good music was good music and it could be composed, performed and enjoyed everywhere and anywhere.”
After studying for over a decade with such varied teachers as legendary Congoloese guitarist Lokassa Y Mbongo in Boston, fingerstyle legends Tuck Andress and Martin Taylor and West African artists in Mali and Guinea and Gambia, Mr Will’s eclectic and playful approach to composition and performance was complete.
Many reviewers have remarked on Mr Will’s technique of using his thumb and all four fingers strum his guitars, the result of which is, in the words of one reviewer, “an affect which made you think you were listening to several instruments, and not all of them guitar”. Yet Mr Will’s commitment to innovation and experimentation goes much deeper than simply how he chooses to strike six or 12 strings.
Mr Will has travelled the world and performed at a variety of events and venues including WOMAD,Lattitude, DrumCamp UK, Newcastle Jazz Festival, Lancaster Jazz festival in addition to international performances including Senegal, Gambia, Philippines & headlining on the Bayimba Festival, Uganda.
In 2012 he set up the Mr.Will Music band having composed & produced the album “Mga Kanta Ng Puso”. In 2016 Mr Will became guitarist & musical director of the Seby Ntege Band and produced the album “Five Notes” that toured throughout 2018. The “five notes” album featured two songs written by Mr.Will, with the track “Sing for the Moment” being played by BBC Radio 3 as track of the week.
2019 promises to be another exciting phase in the exploration of fingerstyle guitar. Having received backing from the Arts Council England, via the DYCP fund, a series of collaborations with ten international artists will be recorded and made available via his YouTube channel, with tutorials and additional material being freely distributed for all aspiring guitarists.
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