Phil Barker

Phil's Gear Page > Songwriter, musician Iona / 1997-present
Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass
Photos by Monica Duffels, Lutz Diehl, Henk Oosting (henkoosting.com), Joe del Tufo, Mike Anders & Janien Kommer
B orn in Perivale, London in 1970, I first wanted to learn to play drums. However, after watching Mark King (Level 42), I soon dropped the idea of drums and decided to learn bass. I was really into Genesis and It Bites in my teens, but no one in my area was playing that kind of 'muso' stuff, so I had to settle for playing in Goth bands (in one band the singer wore make-up and women's underwear on stage!).

In 1988, I began playing in Jazz Funk bands. I thought "now's my chance" and, with Status Bass in hand and Trace-Elliot amp, I began slapping and popping uncontrollably for about 2 years (one band I played with at that time was called 'Pigs in the Parlour').

In 1991, I joined the Saltmine Band (Christian) which later became Funky Beehive. After 18 months of bad jokes, no money and packing up at midnight in the rain in Reading, my Christian charity had depleted.

In 1993, I began working with Sal Solo of Classix Nouveau, spending a lot of time touring America and Europe. At that time I learnt some valuable lessons on how to be a good Catholic, how to shave your head, and how not to eat food with dead animals in it. Sal always insisted that the band was paid cash (local currency) after every gig which is a rare and excellent thing. I also recorded 2 albums with Sal Solo.

In 1994, I met producer Andy Piercy and began working on various projects with him and session guitarist Dave Clifton. It was also at this time that I met my long time sparring partner and pal Terl Bryant and we began working as a rythmn section both live and on recordings together.

In August 95 I'd been depping for session ace Phil Spalding (Robbie Williams, Seal, Mick Jagger, Mike Oldfield) in the band 'Chief Seattle'. Terl asked me if I could fill in for an gig at the Borderline, London, standing in for Tim Harries (who had replaced Nick Beggs). I was not at all familiar with Iona's music. Terl's advice was not to play anything FUNKY because Dave would hate me. I had to learn about 20 songs for the gig as the set list hadn't been finalised (no change there!). Listening over and over to the songs I realised just how intricate and well thought out they were. The gig must have gone pretty well because Simon (the manager of the band at the time) told me "well done, anyone would have thought you'd been in the band for years". A few months later, and I was on tour with the band for what was the most influential time. The album 'Journey Into The Morn' was released, and was very busy with the longest UK and US tours ever. We all got on famously, especially after we nearly got killed on the road twice in 2 days!

In 1997 I took over the job permanently from Tim and we (Iona) recorded the live double album 'Heavens Bright Sun'.

I count Dave, Troy, Terl, Jo and Frank as some of my most valued friends.

As well as working with Iona, I have also had the privilege of working with the following:

Faith Hill, Robin Mark, Matt Redman, Don Moen, Paul Wilbur, Andy Piercy, Eoghan Heaslip, Dave Clifton, Geraldine Latty, Chris Eaton, Barry & Batya Segal, Kim Hill, The Woodthieves, Caroline Bonnet, Paul Mills, Chris Norton, Tim Hughes, Noel Richards, Ricky Valance, Paul Field, The New Scottish Orchestra, oh and Paul Naylor.

I have played on at least 60 albums so here is short selected Discography (sorry to anyone I haven't mentioned, please don't take it personally).

I live in Surrey with my wife Claire and our children, Francesca and Madeleine. I do not have my own studio, but I am currently working on my solo project, brewing beer in the understairs cupboard!
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Discography (10)

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21st August 2017

CLOUDS......
"Oh, have you seen the clouds?
Have you observed the skies?? "
These places and landscapes remind me of so many of our Iona songs.

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18th August 2017

EDGE OF THE WORLD??
Spending a bit of time in the wilds of the north coast of Ireland writing some worship songs. The vibe is Celtic. Must be that St Colmkille connection.

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9th August 2017

We are excited to announce that Iona's drummer/violinist Frank van Essen is currently working on an instrumental solo album, in collaboration with Dave Bainbridge, Troy Donockley and many other great musicians. Please check out his Indiegogo page and get involved!
Please feel free to share this post!

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13th July 2017

DONEGAL SUNSET....
It's that time of year again for some family time in the place that has inspired so many Iona songs .....Edge of the World, Irish Day, Wave after Wave, Kell's theme, Friendships Door, Vision Of Naran, Beyond These Shores,..... probably a few more. It still inspires ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ™.....

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29th June 2017

Hi folks. Collected my Emerald guitar today and of course had to sing a wee song. The guitars first trip abroad will hopefully be to refugee camps in either Turkey or Lebanon in October. Lots of time to practise ๐Ÿ‘

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6th July 2017

DONEGAL.....
A quick visit but no PEAKS to climb this time. And according to National Geographic, Donegal is the place to see ,worldwide ,in 2017!
Thankyou again to all of you who supported the 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS fundraiser for SyriAid ๐Ÿ˜„. A team of folk ( individually self funded) are heading out to camps this weekend for two weeks of aid work assisting various projects.

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6th July 2017

THE THIRD AND FINAL PEAK!
Here are some pics from my final mountain hike. 23 hikers in total went up one or more of the mountains with 6 of us completing the 3 hikes. Thankyou so much to everyone who's donated towards SyriAid's effort to support refugees in crisis. Donations can still be made here

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3rd June 2017

THE SECOND PEAK!
Here's today's story in pictures. Thankfully all 13 of today's team made it to the top and down safely despite the rain and treacherous conditions in places. Thankyou so much for your support.

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3rd June 2017

THE FIRST PEAK.
SyriAid team set off last night to climb our first peak. It's a long hike up from sea level but everyone made it up and down with no falls or injuries. This morning we'll set off for Donegal to climb Mt Errigal.
Thankyou so much to all of you who are following and supporting this fundraising challenge.

( for donations)

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2nd June 2017

TODAY WE START 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS fundraiser......
It has rained for 24 hours prior to us starting our first hike, but even if it's a bit muddy and we get a bit wet, we still won't be able to imagine what millions of refugees have been forced to experience.
Let's not forget them.

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28th June 2017

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PATRICK โ˜˜๏ธearlier today!
In 48 hours we hope to be at the top of our first mountain in the SyriAid 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS challenge. Thankyou so much to all who've already supported our efforts to help Syrian refugees in crisis.

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21st May 2017

GUESS WHERE??
I realise for most of you seeing this, you're a long way from here on our North Coast.
I just thought you'd like to see the pics ๐Ÿ˜„
This is the Giants Causeway and I've been coming here frequently in the last two weeks after a long absence, to get in some training for the SyriAid 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS challenge. If you are close and would like to join us for a hike on any of the days 2-4 th June, then go to
t1566057200103522
If you'd like to support with a donation you can do that here

Thankyou ๐Ÿ˜

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17th May 2017

SCENES FROM THE GIANTS CAUSEWAY
Last night a few of us put in some step training for the SyriAid 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS challenge. What a beautiful evening. ๐Ÿ™ we get such weather 2-4 th June !
If you'd like to support our effort you can here

Thanking you.
Jo.

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13th May 2017

SCENES FROM CAMP....
Arrival at THESSALONIKI AIRPOT
Some scenes from one of the refugee camps. It's been one year since these folk were evacuated from a large camp at Idomeni near the Macedonian border. Some families have been refugees in camps for 4 years in total. Hundreds are still arriving on Greek islands every week.

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12th May 2017

BACK TO GREECE....
Guitar on my back, camera in my bag, returning to Softex and Sinatex refugee camps in Thessaloniki. Just five of us for a short trip of 4 days to interview and film the stories of some of the families we've connected with for a media exhibition later this month. It's been one year since these families were evacuated by the military from their campsite near the Macedonian border at Idomeni and moved to smaller industrial sites in Thessaloniki. It's been a long time in limbo.....

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7th May 2017

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST PATRICK......
Getting in some preparation hiking for the SyriAid 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS challenge June 2-4 th.
1. Slieve Donard Co. Down
2. Mount Errigal Donegal
3.Muckish Mountain Donegal

Join us if you're free. Or maybe contribute to the funding ๐Ÿ˜

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15th May 2017

SLEMISH MOUNTAIN๐Ÿ€
The little mountain associated with St Patrick.
Getting ready for the SyriAid 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS challenge
2-4 th June.
What a beautiful evening. Video to follow.

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30th April 2017

"๐Ÿ€LET US CLIMB this hill in the footsteps of Patrick.....๐ŸŽถ.๐Ÿ€."
Well, maybe not exactly in his footsteps....
But myself along with others will climb 3 Irish PEAKS IN 3 DAYS to raise awareness of the ongoing plight of Syrian refugees in camps in Greece, and also raise funds to support the efforts of SyriAid to help them. If you can't join us then please consider supporting us by donating to the SyriAid fund ( This short video will give you more info๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜ƒ
Please Donate Here:
Join the 3 Peaks Challenge Event Here:

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21st April 2017

Song of Songs.....
Ch 2:11-12
"..... come away with me. The winter is over. Flowers appear on the earth. The season of singing has come..."
A few moments from my time in Portugal.
Back home now to continue work on THE MAP PROJECT and..... get in training for our SyriAid fundraising project to climb 3 PEAKS IN 3 DAYS! ๐Ÿ˜ณ at the start of July! I'll keep you posted.

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17th April 2017

EASTER DAY.....
What a glorious day! Celebrating the greatest day in history....resurrection, death overcome , Jesus the saviour lives....makes me wanna sing my heart out, dance my socks off, climb mountains, do cartwheels( in my dreams), walk with Him, talk with Him, worship Him. The present may be challenging, troubling,confusing,exhilarating,bewildering,exhausting,...... but the future is His Kingdom coming, heaven on earth.....because Jesus is risen.

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14th April 2017

GOOD FRIDAY.....
I walked this long dusty track today. No cross to carry, no jeering crowds, free from any fear of what lay ahead..... not so for Jesus Christ on his road to Golgotha.

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13th April 2017

DIRTY FEET .......
On the night of His last meal with His friends, Jesus took on the role of the lowest servant and washed their feet, including those of the friend he knew would betray Him. It's a tough act to follow and it's not just for " Maundy Thursday ". Our saviour, the humble servant.

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16th April 2017

Hi everyone,
we're looking to fill 14th/15th July with a couple of 'An Evening of Iona Music and More' Dave Bainbridge & Sally Minnear gigs in the north or midlands (England). If anyone would like to book us (house concert / small venue / church) message me (Dave Bainbridge)
!! Check my website for more info on the duo.

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28th March 2017

Great news! Celestial Fire Live in London dvd/cd's are arriving on Friday! If you haven't already pre-ordered you can at and watch the dvd promo at

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12th April 2017

MORE MAPPING....
A great day tracking bass and drums with Terl Bryant and Phil Barker on the final MAP PROJECT song for the first EP release. This time another parable, The Good Samaritan. So good to be working with great friends who've been so much a part of my Iona journey.

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16th March 2017

MAP PROJECT continues.....
Back in Zerohour studio to work on the next song called Hunger.... about the miracle feeding of thousands of people with just a lads picnic lunch to go round !

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21st March 2017

MUSICAL MEMORIES...
When we don't speak the same language, it's great to have music๐ŸŽถ. My borrowed carbon fibre guitar from Irelands own Emerald guitar manufacturers, certainly helped to connect with folk of all ages among the refugee communities we were able to spend time with. Conditions have improved for some , having moved from tents inside cold, damp, dark factory warehouses to portacabins outside...... but 100's of people sharing a few portaloos and cold water taps , with no electricity..... things are still pretty desperate. 100's more refugees arrive in Greece every week but the rate of repatriation is much lower so the overall problem continues to escalate. The last image shows some of the hand knit blankets we took out getting an airing in the sunshine. Another couple of months and temperatures will be much higher, bringing new challenges .... mosquitoes, sanitation problems, water contamination..... makes me appreciate home so much more.

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15th February 2017

WAITING.....
Still many thousands wait it out in camps like this, hoping for a phone call from the UN to process their asylum. The camp appears quiet but most folk stay in their tents to keep warm and because there is nothing to do outside. At least the electricity is working today. We prayed for a young guy waiting for essential surgery... he needs a miracle๐Ÿ™. We hope to get into some other camps to distribute vitamins but currently we don't have official passes so we are going in "under the radar"..... praying for gates to open!

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13th February 2017

GUITAR ON MY BACK๐Ÿ˜„
Returning to Thessaloniki for another week of refugee involvement. ๐Ÿ™๐ŸŽถ and hopefully no โ„๏ธ!

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30th January 2017

Heading back in two weeks to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of the camps in Thessaloniki. ๐Ÿ™

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