An Interview with an Rock Legend
Ken Hensley, former Singer/Songwriter/Keyboarder, Uriah Heep, will held a SAWUBONA Songwriter Workshop at CeBIT Fair at 5 March. Today Ken lives with his wife Monica in Spain, near Alicante on a farm. Both are engaged for her foundation “Esperanza Street” which helps mistreated children and animals. We talked with Ken about his life after all his crazy Rock years:
Ken, why do you live in Spain on a farm – far away from the Rock business?
I love the climate, the diet and the wine! When I walk through the gates of my house, I re-enter my ¨real¨ life and I am grateful that I have this balance now.
We live on 54,000 square meters of land and, though I don´t do any actual ¨farming¨ I do work hard with the animals and to fix things as best I can. It is a wonderful life, hard work but very rewarding and I am thankful for it all.
Still crazy after all these years - you still in music and gigs allover the world, why don't only relax and live your farmer life?
Music has always been my life and I can´t imagine not doing something musical! If all I did was make records and tours then I would probably have nothing much to do. The industry sets its own standards for age in music ... I choose to ignore them. When the industry had apparently turned its back on me, I just created a little industry of my own and, being principally a writer, I can be busy for as long as I want to.
Esperanza Street - what was the motivation/reason to create this foundation?
Monica and I moved to Spain with our Labrador. Soon after that, one or two stray dogs showed up and we took them in. Then 2 or 3 turned into 5 or 6 and now we have 9 of them! We had two cats, forgot to get them neutered and now we have a lot of cats. Someone brought us 5 kittens they had found abandoned in a trash dumpster and they were probably less than a week old. With the help of Salvador, our vet, we nursed them for weeks until they are now healthy and strong. We allowed a local sheep farmer to use the fenced part of our land for his flock to prevent his lambs being killed by stray dogs and, when he left, he gave us some lambs of our own. They, too are big, strong and healthy now. The chickens and rabbits we got as pets but we think those families are about to expand. We also found ourselves working with handicapped children, making some of their simple dreams come true, teaching them basic computer skills and more. - We love to help others and we started Esperanza Street to try and offset some of the costs of keeping our efforts going.
How successful is the foundation?
We already raised €430.00 from the kind people who came to the show in Apeldoorn last year and this helped to off-set the start-up legal fees of €700.00. Our first project is to raise money to buy the land we need to build the shelter homes for people in dangerous or life-threatening situations as well as a really nice shelter for abandoned animals. We have so many volunteers on board now that we know we can help in many ways, sometimes by helping people to find the kind of expert assistance that they need. This kind of voluntary consultation doesn’t involve money but it will still be very valuable. We are still looking for a location in the village to place the “shop” which will be staffed by handicapped people and we’ll keep you posted on that. If you would like to help us immediately, we have a little four-legged project we are working on! Her name is Cati, a very cute dog whose owner cannot spend time with her any more because of his own poor health. Salvador, our volunteer veterinarian will cover most of the costs to vaccinate, neuter her and clean her up, we will mainly need money to buy the materials for the shelter. Volunteers will build it and then Cati will become the first resident!! If you want to help please go to:
Back to music - how to keep your creativity and what makes you work?
I believe my creative gift is a gift from God and I have loved creative writing ever since I was able to write. The more I do it, the more I love it and I think I am getting better at it all the time. I am always searching for new ways to say things and new things to say and I am inspired by some of the many messages I get from people reacting to a song, a lyric or a melody. It often surprises me how profound the effect of a song can be.
Do you still have dreams after so many dreams came through?
Yes. Strange dreams mostly and few that make any sense. I don´t know why, but I gave up trying to understand this phenomenon a long, long time ago!
Ken, muchos gracias for the interview, we are looking forward to meet you in Hanover soon, hasta luego!
The Ken Hensley SAWUBONA Workshop@CeBIT Fair 2009
Under the title ¨
There is a song in every one of us¨ , legendary songwriter, producer and touring/recording artist Ken Hensley will use his extraordinary songwriting gift to encourage writers and non-writers to explore, discover, develop and enjoy the ability to create musical poetry that can not only change their own lives but make a positive difference in the lives of others and the world in which we all live.
Uniquely qualified, Ken has been writing poetry since he was a young boy and began turning his poems into songs at the age of 18. Since then, with more than 40 million records sold, over 300 songs published in a career spanning more than 45 years, he has the background and experience to inform, educate and inspire just about anyone into the field of music that continues to enrich so many lives all over the world.
Importantly, Ken has never had any kind of musical training and never learned to read or write music in the formal way so his class is open to anyone with just a little curiosity. A touch of ambition helps too! And you don´t even need to play an instrument! Remember, a lot of people have made a lot of money from simply being great lyricists!
• Introduction to creative thinking, basic rhyme, song structures etc…
• Copyright, publishing overviews, first active steps
• Let´s make a song¨ (class begins the process of writing a song together)
• Finding the rhythm and the melody within the lyric.
• Let´s record it¨