113 Young Waters


Location: BRISTOL


There are some people who I’ve been trying to write about for ages on The Spiralling, and one of them is my friend Theo. I was finally able to catch up with him and hear all about what his band have been up to recently.

Young Waters’ twisted neo-folk is a tapestry of emotionally powerful vocals, stirring harmonies, lyrical strings and finely mastered acoustic guitar. Their exhilarating rhythms and intricate melodies, coupled with a repertoire that combines startling original material with traditional folk songs, makes for a captivating stage presence. “We started out as Snufkin a couple of years ago, but had to change our name. Fortunately, we all much prefer Young Waters! We started out busking, then got some festival gigs and it’s all gone from there really. We recorded our first album, ‘Live from the Fayre’, at a lovely festival called Rollright Fayre. It was a great gig, but we’re very much looking forward to our next album being released!” 

Young Waters is a five-piece band led by Theo Passingham (vocals and guitar) with Kerry Ann Jangle (vocals and percussion), Liam O’Connell (double bass and vocals), Calum Smith (violin) and Rowen Elliot (viola). The members of Young Waters all met at slightly different times. “At the end of 2014 Liam O’Connell and I accidentally ended up living together. Liam already played in a band with Calum Smith, called the Railway Sleepers, so that made sense as he was already around a lot. We then met Kerry and Amie Willingale at an open mic at Mr Wolfs in Spring of 2015. Amie then became our violinist and Kerry became our main harmonist. Kerry and I moved to London in the Autumn of 2015, so stopped playing with Amie, and played with other violinists such as Alastair Caplin and Bascia Bartz. When we moved back to Bristol, Calum had returned from his travels and we started working with him again. Last summer we needed a violinist for Glastonbury and met Rowen, the violinist and generally extraordinary musician from Solana. After we won some recording time at Real World studios, we decided to try Rowen on the Viola. That was autumn 2016, and since then we’ve been a solid band.” 

For Theo, he finds writing and playing extremely therapeutic. “I sang in a church choir when I was young and I think that really affected the way I write songs. In terms of inspiration for the band, I’m surrounded by a lot of great musicians when on the road and when we play pub sessions. Some bands to note are; The Langan Band, The Moulettes, Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith, Ye Vagabonds, Philip Glass, basically any irish/scottish folk, Appalachian/Old time music, electronic music, anything with real passion and soul I suppose. and performing is always really exciting. I do love the feeling of applause as well, especially from a crowd who haven’t seen or heard of us before.”

Since the guys have been playing together, they’ve had to learn how to get along under pressure. “Being in a band is like being in a relationship, but with 4 other people who all live in different houses and have different needs and wants. It can be good therapy but tensions can run high! On the whole we’re pretty great at being honest and caring which is great.” 


Young Waters have had a host of festival appearances including Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness, Boomtown, Small World and more.  “We won the Bath Folk Festival New Shoots Award (2016). This was amazing for us, and also led to us recording at Peter Gabriel’s legendary Real World Studios. We tried to put our time to good use and managed to record 8 tracks in one day!” 

Aside from producing their studio album, the band have a lot of great gigs coming up. “On the 11th September we are supporting The Nightjar at the Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol. Then on the 18th October we are playing at Cecil Sharp House for the English Folk Dance and Song Society which is a real honour. And on the 22nd of October we’re performing at the English Folk Expo, as part of Manchester Folk Festival, which is going to be incredible!” The main thing for Young Waters at the moment is getting their album finished. “We’re running a crowdfunder here and we still have over 15 days left, and we’ve reached over 75% of our target. This makes us all feel slightly overwhelmed with gratitude, and very proud of what we’ve achieved so far!” You will also be able to pre-order the album through the indiegogo page until the album is done!

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