A PUPIL from a private school in the Yorkshire Dales knew he would enjoy new experiences when he took part in a National Army Cadet Force trip to South Africa.
But Wil Richmond did not expect to record a single as part of a musical collaboration with a Zulu reggae artist as part of his adventure.
The lower sixth pupil from Giggleswick School is about to release the single with Ras d Bongs after the pair met in KwaZulu Natal.
Wil Richmond, 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. 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 five day canoe course down the Tugela River as part of a three week expedition in South Africa.
During the acclimatisation phase Wil said he 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 musi, Wil decided it was his turn to entertain the hosts and borrowed a guitar to perform some of his music. Ras d Bongs, a 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.
A week later Wil was able to take a day out of his expedition and travelled more than 100km to the Durban studio.
Wil said: “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 e-mails 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.