Benammi Swift at Folk Awards this week

Three years ago Benammi Swift’s mum Anita dusted off his late father’s instruments and handed them to him.

“She said she thought it was time for me to take them out and play them,” explained the 16-year-old from Somercotes.

And play them he certainly did. The teenager is such a gifted musician that he has just been shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards.

Benammi’s dad Tufty Swift was a stalwart of the Derbyshire folk community for years, who sadly died when his son was just a few months old.

However the Swanwick Hall School pupil has been inspired by his dad’s friends from an early age and says he has always loved folk music. He started out playing the guitar and then when his dad’s instruments were revealed he started playing the melodeon and now an accordion.

“I entered the awards as soon as I was old enough to be eligible and I couldn’t believe it when I got on the shortlist of ten.

“We then had to spend a week on a course where we performed in front of judges and experts and I made it to the final four.”

On April 27 Benammi will be playing live on Simon Mayo’s BBC radio programme and then going on to the Royal Albert Hall for the awards ceremony.

“It will be amazing. I am very excited and even if I don’t win anything I am really pleased to have done what I have done so far.”

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