Ben Kettlewell is an award-winning composer and an accomplished guitarist and synthesist of many years standing. He has been involved with almost
every aspect of music, at one time or another, for over four decades.
Ben grew up with his grandparents Wayland and Novella White on the family farm in Belvidere, Perquimans County, beside The Great Dismal Swamp in Eastern North Carolina.
Ben lived for many years on Cape Cod, until he joined forces with Mairéid in 1997. He began his professional career in his teen years, paying his way through art school as lead guitarist in several well-known folk, rock, blues and jazz ensembles. He went on to compose music for television productions and multimedia projects. He has won awards for his original scores for theatre productions with the legendary Provincetown Theatre Company, founded in 1916 by Eugene O'Neil and "Jig" Cook.
His compositions in the electronic and ambient music genre have been recorded and released on British and American labels. As well as being an accomplished acoustic and electronic musician, and a celebrated painter, Ben is also a webmaster, having trained in the early 90s with Emily Johnson, part of the team of developers, which created the third generation (HTML 3.0) of Tim Berners-Lee's html language at MIT.
Ben has been a music journalist for nearly thirty years and was a public radio presenter for ten years. His book, Electronic Music Pioneers (2002, Pro Music Press / Thompson Publishing, distributed by Hal Leonard Corp.) is based on a radio series for which he was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities. He is editor of the online music magazine, Alternate Music Press - one of the first eclectic music publications on the Internet.
Ben is currently working on his novel, Perquimans, which begins in 1585 when his ancestors first migrated to North America. In 1585, John White, an artist and a cartographer, set out on Sir Walter Raleigh’s expedition to the New World on a voyage from England to the Outer Banks of North Carolina under Raleigh’s plan to establish a settlement in Virginia. During this period he made a series of over seventy watercolor drawings of indigenous people, plants, and animals, preserved in the British Museum. Despite their extraordinary significance, the watercolors were not published until the twentieth century.
Ben's book traces the history of the first settlements in North America, and gives us a rare glimpse at over 400 years of history in one of America's oldest settlements. Ben's Scottish ancestor, Flora White emigrated from Scotland via England to North Carolina aboard an English merchant's ship in 1663, one year after the territory was "opened up" for settlement. Flora White, a lawyer and a Quaker, had seven sons, several of whom married Cherokee women. Their descendants were spared from the Trail of Tears evacuation of 1838/39. (Several of Ben’s relatives were registered in the Dawes Roll of 1910.)
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"He believed that he was born, not for himself, but for the whole world."
[Latin: Nec sibi sed toti genitum se credere mundo.]
- Lucanus (Marcus Annaeus Lucan), Pharsalia (II, 383)