Beloved Totnes here in South Devon, UK has its fare share of treasures in human form.
We can now add to the list singer/songwriter Ben Howard, 26, in the folk/Indie tradition of music. Ben lived in Totnes since a small boy in primary school and attended Kevics, the local comprehensive high school.
This year, Ben won the BRIT award for the best breakthrough act. He also won the British Male Solo Artist of the Year award. It is easy to see why when you. listen to his voice and follow the lyrics.
It is not that long ago that Ben sat under the arch halfway up Totnes high street as a busker with passers by dropping coins into his hat. I have listened to our buskers on our high street over the past 30 years. There is a wealth of natural talent on the streets of Britain who can touch the hearts of thousands, not just passersby. Ben has now moved from busker into the world of the Music Gods.
Utterly unassuming, Ben would unobtrusively sings his songs on the street. He is now attracting national attention with more than 9,000,000 hits on Youtube, a great album titled “Every Kingdon” and last Saturday he sang on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival to his biggest audience ever. Quite a leap from our high street to singing on stage in the afternoon before the Aged Gods of Rock, the Rolling Stones came on stage.
Watch on Youtube, Ben at Glastonbury, 2013
Watch Ben also on YouTube Ben singing Keep Your Head Up –
See http://youtu.be/ADP65wbBUpc – filmed at Dartington, just outside Totnes besides the River Dart.
Extract from the lyrics of Keep Your Head Up. The song mirrors some of the exploration taking place in Totnes. The song reminds us thati if we are looking outwardly for peace and happiness we are looking in the wrong direction.
“I spent my time watchin’ the spaces that have grown between us.
And I cut my mind on second best or the scars that come with the greeness.
And I gave my eyes to the boredom, still the seabed wouldn’t let me in,
And I tried my best to embrace the darkness in which I swim.
I’m walkin’ back down this mountain
With the strength of a turnin’ tide
Oh the wind’s so soft on my skin,
The sun so hard upon my side.
Oh lookin’ out at this happiness,
I search for between the sheets.
Oh feelin’ blind and realize,
All I was searchin’ for was me.
Ooh all I was searchin’ for was me…..”
Thanks Ben. keep writing, Keep playing. Keep singing