A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
Sad news today, folks: John Willis, banjoist, concertinerist, composer, canoeist, gold prospector, distiller of the dark arts passed away this morning in a Sheffield Hospice.
A self confessed "messer-abouter" John was reliable supporter of the Clowne Banjo Rally even when his eyesight was failing - last year he drove across with only one eye.
We could always rely on him to play a selection of his own compositions (on his own make of banjo) as well as making a strong contibution to the Community Numbers.
An engineer by trade he make or mend almost anything!
In his youth he would drive to London to take part in the Federation Rallies and won several competitions over the years.
He also made a huge contribution to the Yorkshire Concertina Club.
He has left behind several books of original tunes which work equally well on English Concertina or Classic Banjo - several can be found on this site - complete a written 2nd and in many cases a self made recording.
Truely one of the lights of the banjo world has gone out.
Sad news indeed Dave. RIP John.
Here is John playing one of his own compositions.
We are all getting older.. but where are the youngsters?
Sad news indeed. I remember meeting him at the Clowne Rally and asking him about the banjo he was playing - he had made it! Hopefully we will all make it to the Clowne Rally next year and play some of his tunes in his memory.
He'd been around along time, a nice bloke and man of many talents, I shall miss seeing hime in the many venues where our paths have crossed over the years but particularly in Whitby where he would do a bit of busking during the Whitby Folk Week. He made good banjos and was part of a lost generation of men and women in the British Isles who could make anything; all of the towns and cities based on the working of metal/mining/heavy industry, had an army of skilled people like John who made things sometimes quite amazing things, in what little spare time they had.. Always cheerful and smiling, another banjo legend passes. As to 'where are the youngsters' there are a few, but we seldom see them, presumably they play to themselves in the seclusion of their bedrooms.
Very sad to hear of the passing of John. We always enjoyed his company and playing at our Clowne Banjo Rally.
He will be greatly missed .RIP John.