Willim Welsyn

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Willim Welsyn
(William Welfare)
Birth name John William F. Barnard
Born (1984-09-17) 17 September 1984 (age 30)
Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa
Origin Ladismith, Western Cape
Genres Rock, folk, Sunshine rock
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist, Rolling Stone writer & photographer
Years active 2002–present
Labels Next Music
Website www.williamwelfare.co.za
Notable instruments
Swedish Custom Vintage Hagstrom P46
Epiphone Custom Les Paul SG
Epiphone Korina Explorer
Squier Stratocaster
Washburn D10CE
Orange and Marshall Guitar Amplifiers

Willim Welsyn aka William Welfare, born William Barnard on 17 September 1984, is a South African Afrikaans rock and folk singer/songwriter originally from Ladismith in the Western Cape. He is better known as the lead singer and guitarist for the Afrikaans Rock band, Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies and as a photographer, features writer and podcast host for the South African Rolling Stone magazine.[1][2]


Willim Welsyn recorded his first self-titled solo EP in 2002 at the age of 17. In 2004 he recorded his first full-length solo album, Feromoon Rose. In the same year Welsyn met up with Panna Dekker (bass guitar) and Etienne Nel (drums) during a SABC 2 television interview where Welsyn asked Dekker and Nel to pose as his backing band for a promotional music video clip that would air with the initial interview. After the interview they formed Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies and recorded their first full-length album, Buikspraak in 2005.

Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies started touring and shot two music videos for the songs, "Toastersport" and "Coca Cola Sunrise". Dekker left the band soon hereafter. For three months Welsyn and Nel performed as a two-piece band, when Welsyn approached a bass guitar player from Jeffreys Bay, Gerhard Grobler, to join the band. In 2007 they recorded their second full-length album, Kompos en Kraai. Shortly after the Kompos en Kraai recording they signed a record deal with Next Music, an independent local record company. Shortly after the release of Kompos en Kraai they released two music videos from the album, "Soos ’n Skoolhoof" en "Die mooiste van dit alles".

In 2008 drummer Etienne Nel was involved in a serious car accident in Stellenbosch. He suffered multiple injuries and was temporarily replaced by Tim Rankin, the sound engineer who worked on Kompos en Kraai and the drummer for the Cape Town-based band, Bed on Bricks. In the same year Welsyn recorded his second full-length solo album, Maanplaas, with Schalk van der Merwe, also from Bed Bricks, on bass guitar and Tim Rankin on drums. Van der Merwe also produced the album. Maanplaas`s sound differed from Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies's previous high-paced rock albums, taking a more relaxed, country and folk direction.

In 2009 Welsyn enrolled at Stellenbosch University, Grobler enrolled at the Cape Audio College and Nel started working full-time. Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies still kept performing occasional live shows, while Welsyn also pursued his solo career.

In beginning of 2010 bassit Grobler travelled to Thailand and was replaced by bassist Louis Esterhuizen, who was previously the bassist and guitarist of Rooibaardtt. In September 2010 Welsyn recorded his third full-length solo album, Smeer die Weerlig, with Nel on drums, Jo Ellis on organ and piano and Welsyn on guitar, vocals and bass guitar. Smeer die Weerlig was produced by Jo Ellis, who also produced Welsyn's first two albums and Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies's first album.[3]

Rolling Stone South Africa[edit]

In 2012 Welsyn graduated with from the University of Stellenbosch with a Bachelor's degree in Humanities [4] and then started working full-time at the South African Rolling Stone magazine as deputy digital editor, features writer and photographer. [5][6][7][8][9]

In March 2013 Welsyn launched the Rolling Stone SA podcast show on www.rollingstone.co.za which he produces and co-hosts with RS editor in chief, Miles Keylock and RS digital editor, Anton Marshall. The podcast show features a mixture of in-depth conversations, interviews, previews of upcoming feature articles and discussions of relevant topics of the day.[10]

William Welfare[edit]

In September 2013 Willim Welsyn changed his name to William Welfare (an English translation) for his first upcoming English album set to be released in 2014. “4 Cups Of Dust" is the first official single and video by William Welfare.

The video sees Welfare and drummer Kyle Gray recording the track live at Blooroom Studios in Ladismith and then traveling to the Oppikoppi Bewilderbeast 2013 Festival.

The footage was shot by Welfare and Gray on a GoPro knock-off camera while they were both covering the festival for Rolling Stone SA Magazine in August 2013. Welfare interviewed most of the artists seen in the video during the festival. Some of these artists include Chino Moreno from Deftones, Koos Kombuis, Black Cat Bones, Bittereinder, Shadowclub, Jack Parow and Tumi Molekane from Tumi and The Volume.

“The video shows how fast-paced and crazy my job as a traveling music journalist and musician is. There’s no time to set up shit and get the lighting right – I have to be in 10 places at once. It’s a DIY point an’ shoot mash-up”, said Welfare.

When asked why Welsyn translated his name and decided to record his first English album he said, “I always figured that if a 1000 people in South Africa could dig my Afrikaans music then maybe 10 000 people around the world could dig my English music.”

Award nominations[edit]

Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies second album, Kompos en Kraai was nominated for a South African Music Award for best Afrikaans Rock album in 2009.[11] Willim Welsyn's second solo album, Maanplaas was nominated for a South African Music Award for best Afrikaans Alternative album,[12] a Huisgenoot Tempo Award for best Kopskuif (Afrikaans slang for alternative) album[13] and a Rapport Afrikaans Vonk Award for best Afrikaans Alternative album in 2010.[14] Maanplaas won the Huisgenoot Tempo Award for best Kopskuif album in 2010. Smeer Die Weerlig was nominated for a Huisgenoot Tempo Award for best Rock album in 2011.[15] Willim Welsyn's self shot and directed music video, "Friek Yt!",[16] was also nominated for best Alternative Music Video (with MK) at the Huisgenoot Tempo Awards in 2012.[17]


• Willim Welsyn - Willim WelsynEP 2002
• Willim Welsyn - Feromoon Rose 2004
• Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies - Buikspraak 2005
• Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies - Kompos en Kraai 2007
• Willim Welsyn - Maanplaas 2008
• Willim Welsyn - Smeer die Weerlig 2010
• William Welfare - Shunt 2014


  1. ^ Yvonne Beyers, "Huisgenoot", 12 February 2010, "{http://www.huisgenoot.com/artikels/Tempo/Kollig-op-Willim-Welsyn}", 11 November 2010
  2. ^ Willim Welsyn, "Rolling Stone", 25 March 2013, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/2262-black-cat-bones-rocking-in-the-free-world}",6 April 2013
  3. ^ Willim Welsyn en die Sunrise Toffies, "History", 6 October 2010, "{http://www.willimwelsyn.co.za}", 11 November 2010
  4. ^ Stellenbosch University "Stellenbosch University", December 2012, "{http://blogs.sun.ac.za/news/2012/12/08/graduation-name-list-available-here/}", 6 April 2013
  5. ^ Rolling Stone SA "Rolling Stone SA", May 2012, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/2262-black-cat-bones-rocking-in-the-free-world}", 6 April 2013
  6. ^ Rolling Stone SA "Rolling Stone SA", May 2012, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/1061-qaa-anton-goosen}", 6 April 2013
  7. ^ Rolling Stone SA "Rolling Stone SA", May 2012, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/903-qaa-steve-hofmeyr}", 6 April 2013
  8. ^ Rolling Stone SA "Rolling Stone SA", April 2013, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/1130-phfat-on-money-death-and-the-industry}", 6 April 2013
  9. ^ Rolling Stone SA "Rolling Stone SA", April 2013, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/2225-teaspoon-meets-spoonful}", 6 April 2013
  10. ^ Rolling Stone SA Podcast "Rolling Stone SA Podcast", March 2013, "{http://www.rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/2248-rolling-stone-sas-podcast-ep-1-pilot-gazelle-a-dj-inivizable}", 6 April 2013
  11. ^ Channel 24, "Channel 24", 20 March 2009, "{http://www.channel24.co.za/Music/FeaturesInterviews/SAMA-Nominees-2009-20090320}", 11 November 2010
  12. ^ Times Live, "Times Live", 13 April 2010, "{http://www.timeslive.co.za/entertainment/article338793.ece/SAMA-nominees-announced}", 11 November 2010
  13. ^ Media24, "Media24", 4 August 2010, "{http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/39/50753.html}", 11 November 2010
  14. ^ Rapport, "Rapport", 25 October 2010, "{http://www.vamt.co.za/site/BENOEMDES.pdf}", 11 November 2010
  15. ^ "Hoorn". Hoorn. 6 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Willim Welsyn - "Friek Yt! video, "Friek Yt! video", 9 February 2012, "{https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSMpKh8cmF4 }, 6 April 2013
  17. ^ "WW en die ST". WW en die ST. 6 April 2013. 

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