Home > In Memoriam > In Memoriam – June 2021

In Memoriam – June 2021

Oh, Reaper, please keep on taking it easy. It was a merciful month — the least eventful in many years — though it might not seem that way for fans of Argentine rock or Japanese instrumentalists. Or presidents who liked to make music. The reward in months like this is in discovering great music from unexpected quarters.

The Mentor
The story of Grace Griffith — who has died at only 64 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease — is one of generosity of spirit, that appealing characteristic which is an essence of love. When she was signed by folk and Celtic music label Blix Street Records, Griffith was supposed to become its headliner. But Griffith urged them to also sign a loyal fan of hers by the name of Eva Cassidy.

Nothing much happened until September 1996, when Griffith learnt of Cassidy’s illness with cancer. Griffith immediately arranged to send a tape of Cassidy’s just recently self-released Live at Blues Alley album to Bill Straw from Blix Street Records. Two months later, Cassidy was dead and Griffiths sang at her funeral. Straw obtained the rights to Cassidy’s recordings, both previously released and demos, and put a collection of them out under the title Songbird. It became a huge hit, especially in Britain.

Alas, Griffith was diagnosed with Parkinson’s less than two years after Cassidy’s death. Soon she lost her ability to play the various instruments she had mastered, but her beautiful voice remained unaffected, allowing her to continue performing and recording.

The Fourth Worlder
A collaborator with the likes of Brian Eno, Ry Cooder, David Sylvian, and Peter Gabriel, American trumpeter and composer Jon Hassell developed the concept of “Fourth World” music, which — and here I yield to Wikipedia — describes a “unified primitive/futurist sound combining elements of various world ethnic traditions with modern electronic techniques”. A doctor of music, Hassel studied with avant garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

It all sounds terribly esoteric, but Hassell worked with many well-known names, including Tears for Fears, Talking Heads, Jackson Browne, k.d. lang, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Ani DiFranco, and Ibrahim Ferrer. And the electronic music on the TV series The Practice… that was Hassell as well.

The President
After his death at 97, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda was mourned throughout Africa as one of its most beloved politicians. He was among the first African leaders to hand over power without hassles when he was defeated in a democratic election — which had not been taken for granted, since Kaunda was not a democrat during his 27-year presidency.

Kaunda was also a keen amateur musician, who often would accompany singers like Miriam Makeba on piano or guitar at functions. And in 1990 he entered the UK Dance Top 40, by way of a remix by disco legend Oliver Cheatham of a tune titled Tiyende Pamodzi, which Kaunda had written and, as conductor, recorded in 1974 under the snappy moniker Zambia Cabinet & Central Committee led by President Kenneth Kaunda. The recording of Tiyende Pamodzi marked the tenth anniversary of Zambia’s independence.

Kaunda used his guitar to rally crowds with his own compositions during the fight for independence, and even as president he would sing songs on the public stage, political tunes as well as love songs to his wife. A devout Christian, he also composed hymns.

Assassinated
On June 14, popular Colombian singer Junior Jein entered a nightclub in the city of Cali for a personal appearance. He left the club on a stretcher, having been shot six times. He died in hospital.

A socially engaged singer, Jein had protested in song and words against the state crackdown on protests since April, 28, in which at least 60 demonstrators have been killed and more than 2,300 injured by the authorities, and others were forcibly disappeared. Jein described the shooting of the protesters as a massacre. Soon after, he himself was shot dead…

As always, this post is reproduced in PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

 

Bob Edmondson, 86, trombonist, arranger, producer, on May 29
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Wade In The Water (1966, on trombone & as arranger)

Grace Griffith, 64, American and Celtic singer, on June 5
Grace Griffith – Demeter’s Daughter (1996)
Grace Griffith – My Life (2006)

Michele Merlo, 28, Italian singer-songwriter, on June 6

Jaime Junaro, 72, Bolivian singer-songwriter and guitarist, on June 6

David C. Lewis, keyboardist of soft-rock band Ambrosia, on June 7
Ambrosia – Heart to Heart (1978)
Shadowfax – Solar Wind (1988, as member and writer)

Dean Parrish, 79, soul singer, on June 8
Dean Parrish – I’m On My Way (1967)

Farhad Humayun, 42, singer and drummer of Pakistani rock band Overload, on June 8
Overload – Dhamaal (2005)

Torgny Björk, 82, Swedish singer, musician, composer, on June 9

Juan Nelson, 62, American bassist (Ben Harper), on June 9
Ben Harper – The Woman In You (1999, on bass)

Jon Lukas, 72, Maltese musician, on June 11
Jon Lukas – Can’t Afford To Lose (1970)

Pablo Larralde, 55, Argentinian heavy metal singer, on June 13

Raul de Souza, 86, Brazilian trombonist, on June 13
Raul De Souza – Only When You Can (1979)

Junior Jein, 38, Colombian singer, producer and composer, shot dead on June 14
Junior Jein – Si Dios Fuera Negro

Fane Flaws, 70, New Zealand musician and songwriter, on June 17

Kenneth Kaunda, 97, Zambian ex-president and hobby musician, on June 17
Zambia Cabinet & Central Committee led by President Kenneth Kaunda – Tiyende Pamodzi (1974)

Takeshi ‘Terry’ Terauchi, 82, Japanese rock guitarist and actor, on June 18
Takeshi Terauchi & The Blue Jeans – Kuroda Bushi (1966)

Lionel Leroy, 65, French singer, on June 20
Lionel Leroy – Starsky et Hutch (Chanson originale de la série télévisée) (1981)

Nobuo Hara, 94, Japanese jazz saxophonist, on June 21
Nobuo Hara and His Sharps & Flats – Five Spot After Dark (1970)

Mamady Keïta, 70, Guinean drummer, on June 21

Ike Stubblefield, 69, organ & keyboard player, on June 19
Ike Stubblefield – I Thought It Was You (2011)

Winsford Devine, 77, Trinidadian calypso & soca songwriter, on June 22
Winsford Devine – Dance All Night (1985)

Wojciech Karolak, 82, Polish jazz and R&B keyboardist, on June 23
Wojciech Karolak – Easy! (1974)

Ellen McIlwaine, 75, Canadian slide guitarist and blues/folk singer, on June 23
Ellen McIlwaine – I Don’t Want To Play (1973)

David Edwards, 56, singer of Welsh rock band Datblygu, announced June 23
Datblygu – Cân i Gymry (1993)

Rinaldo Rafanelli, 71, singer of Argentine rock band Sui Generis, on June 25
Sui Generis – Para quién canto yo entonces (1974)

Wes Madiko, 57, Cameroonian singer, on June 25
Wes – Alane (1997)

Hidefumi Toki, 71, Japanese jazz saxophonist, on June 26
Toki & Samba Friends – Morena (1981)

Jon Hassell, 84, trumpeter and avant garde composer, on June 26
Kenny Rogers – Something About Your Song (1978, as writer)
Lloyd Cole And The Commotions – Big Snake (1986, on trumpet)
Jon Hassel – Voiceprint (Blind From The Facts) (1990)
Ibrahim Ferrer – Boliviana (2003, on trumpet)

Johnny Solinger, 55, lead singer of Skid Row (1999-2015), on June 26
Skid Row – Ghost (2003)

Peps Persson, 74, Swedish blues and reggae musician, on June 27

Willy Crook, 55, saxophonist of Argentine rock band Redonditos de Ricota, on June 27
Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota  – Ya nadie va a escuchar tu remera (1986)

Burton Greene, 84, free jazz pianist, on June 28

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  1. amdwhah
    July 6th, 2021 at 12:44 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Rhodb
    July 9th, 2021 at 23:34 | #2

    Thanks again for the fine effort in keeping us informed of the grim Reapers path

    Regards

    Rhod

  3. iammike
    July 12th, 2021 at 11:08 | #3

    ^ +1

    And thanks for showing me music I would not have listened to

    Really appreciated

  4. iammike
    July 12th, 2021 at 11:08 | #4

    (forgot to add) otherwise

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