Multi instrumentalist, singer and writer of songs, Benji Kirkpatrick was born to folk
luminaries John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris in the summer of 1976 whilst they were on a
rare break from touring. This could have set the pattern for his future life - as a much
sought after, busy musician Benji seems to be constantly touring!
Immersed in many genres of music through his roots he was always picking up different
instruments and trying them on for size. However the arrival of an electric guitar in his life
sealed his fate and Benji began listening to 50’s Rock n’ Roll, before moving via ZZ Top to
His song writing talent was acknowledged early when a song he penned for his first band
The Hedgerows was featured on Evolving Tradition 1 (Mrs Casey Records) in 1995. This
brought Benji to the notice of the wider industry and his debut solo album ‘Dance In The
Shadow’ was released in 1998 on the Wildgoose label.
His second solo album, 'Half a Fruit Pie', was released, this time on the Fellside label in
2004. That year also saw the birth of folk ‘big band’ Bellowhead with Benji as a founder
member. The ‘big band’ format was revolutionary in the UK, with this group of disparate
musicians gathering to play across genres, styles, idioms and textures from across the globe
with the essence of English traditional music at their heart.
Within a year Seth Lakeman’s album ‘Kitty Jay’, which featured Benji, was nominated for the Mercury prize. As a member of Seth’s
band since 2009 Benji has witnessed ever growing audiences. The follow up album ‘Freedom Fields’ sold 100,000 copies and Seth’s
latest release is the much lauded ‘Hearts & Minds’.
Alongside all this Benji and his fellow Bellowheads have seen their popularity and peer respect grow ever greater. With
performances everywhere from the Royal Opera House to the Albert Hall (as part of BBC TV's Proms), the band has gone from
strength to strength. They are headlining festivals in the UK and in Europe and, following in St Etienne's footsteps, were named as
Band in Residence at London's South Bank Centre in 2008. Their latest album 'Hedonism' ( recorded in Abbey Road and produced
by John Leckie, - Radiohead, Muse and the Stone Roses) is attracting much attention and selling fast. Bellowhead have now
appeared twice on Later with Jools Holland as well as seeing the New Year in, featuring on Jool's Hootenanny 2010. 2011's BBC
Radio 2 Folk Awards saw them winning Best Group and Best Live Band (the latter for the fifth time!).