Monthly Archives: September 2011

Duckaroo: What will evolve next?

Since April 2011, I have been involved in running a “no-mic open mic” in Exeter. I attended the no-mic open mic in Oxford, Catweazle Club, run by Matt Sage, and realised that Exeter had nothing like it, and needed it bad. Why? With no mic, people have to listen, and thus the magic of live entertainment returns. Also, aside from the stipulation of “unplugged”, the stage becomes a very open platform to anything that can be performed without amplification. At the Oxford session I’d alreadu seen music, poetry, acapella singing, but also comedy, dance, and a striptease on once occasion. No-where in Exeter could I find such an open and inclusive space for performers, or such a magical night out for audience members.

I spoke to Matt Sage in Oxford about the idea of a Catweazle Exeter. He said there were already Catweazle Clubs in Oxford, London, Brighton and New York, and he’d love for there to be one in Exeter. So we collaborated and Catweazle Club Exeter ran weekly from April to July 2011. It was a roaring success with a troupe of dedicated followers! Indeed, just as expected, people were hungry for this rich and diverse artistic weekly night – there’s nothing else quite like it!

After a summer break, Duckaroo will be starting up again very soon at….(THIS INFO COMING SOON!)

Matt Sage has decided to stop building a nationwide network of Catweazle Clubs, and go back to just having the Oxford “branch”. And so, the new name for Exeter’s no-mic open mic will be: DUCKAROO!!!

The question of “Why name it Duckaroo?” is something I’ve been asked many times already. Quite simply, we wanted a word that wasn’t associated with any particular type of performance, but that was instantly memorable. So making up a word seemed the obvious choice. However, it only occurred to me later that the “Duckaroo” animal herself has ended up being an apt mascot for everything that this project stands for. Please don’t stop reading at this point. I’m serious.

Besides the signature “no-mic” factor, there are some other key values that have come the surface. With no mic, people listen, and they listen equally to each performer, so hierarchy disappears. There is a respect for each performer. A variety of different performance media are seen on the same night, so divides between poets, writers, musicians, storytellers etc also disappear. And right there are all the ingredients for a creative Bohemian melting pot. Performers, excited about having a listening audience, up their game, and try new things. Seeing that performers of all different types are accepted equally, they feel encouraged to cross or switch genres, or even try new media. Audience members who have never performed before feel encouraged to try it, by this friendly and welcoming atmosphere. In fact, audience is usually so on the ball, that when it comes to any audience participation bits, they truly become part of the performance – providing sound effects for storytellers, and harmonies for singers. The no-mic open mic, by its very nature, encourages evolution. It encourages the performers to evolve, and the audience too.

What’s all this got to do with the Duckaroo? Well the Duckaroo is a newly evolved creature, and so is the no-mic open mic she represents.



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Shh… don't let them know I've got NO drive to succeed

(Originally posted to my Facebook account, on Thursday, 21 April 2011 at 11:28)

When it comes to aims in life, we have to start from where we are and build up brick by brick. I have been pondering on the truth of this with regards to music recently.

I have observed that there is a current trend for a major lable to back and artist for 2 albums. If the first is successful they will fund a second, but by the time a 3rd is required, a record lable can get a much better buzz by funding a new band. The artist can be at best, left to their own devices with the benefit of 2 tours under their belt, or at worst deliberately buried by the record lable.


In this industry there is a strange pressure to succeed very quickly, and build up what would be considered a ridiculous curve of profit in a very short space of time, compared to any other business model. Record lables love to pick up 18 year olds and make them international success stories, so there’s a pressure for unsigned/independent artists to compete, and make it nationally/internationally by the age of 25 at least.  They also love to pick people with NO history in the industry and turn them into national heros within a few months (x factor etc).

In reality, for an independent artist, a comfortable curve of development to reach that level of success from ground zero in a stable way is a minimum of 10 years. And it’s becoming my increasing belief that if it were to take even longer, for example, 20 or 50 years, far from calling that a failure, it may be an even more pleasant journey.

In fact, this capitalist concept of success is ultimately damaging. The act of being a musician is just this: Make music. Make music make music…. and the rest will come as a product. A person who loves making music will make music every day for all the days of their lives, and eventually, by cause an effect this will cut out how their life will go. They may be asked to play for others, or teach others, or share music in some other ways. And naturally, since they gravitate towards these suggestions they will accept opportunities as they come. But ultimately, if they are genuinely a musician then they will feel fulfilled when they are making music every day, and this will flow easily. I truly believe that there are ways of doing this without having to struggle, or feel pressure to succeed.

To everyone out there who is struggling for money as a professional musician, here are a couple of ideas that I like.

-I’d rather be a struggling musician than a struggling accountant.

-If I already make music every day, then I it can’t get any better than this.

I am 26. I have recorded and independently released 4 albums and am currently recording a 5th. I play live locally and on short tours up to london. I teach individual guitar lessons, classes at a Music College, and run workshops and Master Classes for groups. I also run a recording studio from home in which I’ve produced 2 Eps, 3 Albums and several Singles besides my own recordings. I gravitate towards performance environments in which my music can flourish. I have no career plans.

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What's to come…?

Hello all. In the past I have made the occasional post to myspace or youtube, but this is the first time I’ve had a dedicated weblog. I’ll be posting regularly, some new articles, and also archiving the previous ones that have been randomly dotting around the internet for the past 5 years. This blog will also be the very first place that I will post new videos, media, and other news.

Hope as many of you subscribe as possible.

Kimwei x

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Welcome to the Weblog

You are the first to view – the Weblog of the mutifaceted Kimwei – Singer Songwriter, cutting edge acoustic guitarist, Music Teacher, Music Producer, Therapist and more…

Watch this space for regular posts, news gigs, and all the latest. Sign up to the mailing list via (type your email address into the left-hand sidebar on the homepage) to be alerted as to when this weblog is updated:


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