Lives

John Peel (1939-2004)

[by Ken Hunt, London] To be truthful, there really have been very few disc jockeys who have changed society’s attitudes to music. Tom Donahue introduced a virus to North American radio programming. Donahue’s infected the San Francisco Bay Area. By circumventing conventional playlist conventions, he wove an unconventional tapestry that enabled listeners to think beyond the commercially regulated 45 rpm format, think about LP-length tracks as a format and thus to think for themselves.

29. 8. 2011 | read more...

Patrick Galvin (1927-2011)

[by Ken Hunt, London] Patrick Galvin’s death on 10 May 2011 in his birth city of Cork received some attention, the way that Ireland’s foremost poets and men-of-letters get written up. Born on 15 August 1927, his obituaries raised the response of ‘Oh no, that will not do.’ Galvin was more than a poet and dramatist in the way he chronicled and portrayed his homeland, its history and its people. He had a parallel life as a singer and writer of Irish songs. His recording career began at Topic – Britain’s and the world’s oldest independent record label – in the early 1950s.

17. 7. 2011 | read more...

V. G. Jog (1922-2004)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The outstanding, trail-blazing Hindustani violinist Vishnu Govind Jog, usually known more simply as V.G. Jog, died in Kolkata (Calcutta) on 31 January 2004. He had been born in Bombay (now Mumbai), then in the Bombay Presidency (nowadays Maharashtra) in 1922. He received his early music training from several notables, amongst them, S.C. Athavaic, Ganpat Rao Purohit and Dr. S.N. Ratanjarkar, but where he differed from most of his contemporaries was his espousal and championing of the violin played in Indian tuning. To the north of the subcontinent, the European violin had little status.

11. 7. 2011 | read more...

Dr. Hukwe Zawose (1938-2003)

[by Ken Hunt, Berlin] On 30 December 2003, Tanzania’s internationally best-known musician, Hukwe Zawose died at home in Bagamoyo, his musical base for many decades, at the age of 65. Tanzanian music never had much of an international profile outside of ethnography until Hukwe Zawose but when it arrived it arrived in style.

27. 6. 2011 | read more...

Manohari Singh (1931-2010)

[by Ken Hunt, London] Cast your mind back to 1971 and the film Caravan. That ever-risqué delight Helen is commanding the screen. A slinky saxophone croons over an electric bass guitar line with vibraphone in underlying support. Within a minute electric piano, trumpet and a splash of drums comes on the way eggs and flour get folded in gently when making a pudding. A spy flick tune emerges and then dissolves away. Helen pleads, “Lover, come to me now.” We are listening to Piya Tu Ab To Aaaja (generally translated as ‘Lover, Come to Me Now’) with Asha Bhosle putting the words on Helen’s lips – with occasional cries of “Mon-i-kkka!” from the song’s composer Rahul Dev ‘Pancham’ Burman.

23. 5. 2011 | read more...

Tim Rose (1940-2002)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The songwriter and singer Tim Rose died aged a day over 62, on 24 September 2002 in London just before a string of concerts.

Rose was born Timothy Alan Patrick Rose in Washington on 23 September 1940 and fetched up in Chicago where he became the sort of chap that might figure in one of Pete Frame’s family trees through his involvement in a folk group called the Triumvirate.

16. 5. 2011 | read more...

Ray Hunter Smith (1934-2011)

[by Ken Hunt, London] Record shops held a particular status in the cultural to-and-fro of earlier times in ways that would be impossible to explain in the internet age. It was pretty much in order to go to a shop with minimal cash (remember, this is pre-plastic) and listen to a whole LP with only the flimsiest justification or intention of purchasing it.

9. 5. 2011 | read more...

Howard Evans (1944-2006)

[by Ken Hunt, London] British folk music found a top drawer brass player, arranger and composer in Howard Evans, says Ken Hunt. He had an utterly pragmatic, utterly professional attitude to music making and the musician’s life and from 1997, when he joined the Musicians Union’s London headquarters, as assistant general secretary for media he revealed that over and over again. He was totally pragmatic about his art and the first to drolly prick any bubbles of pretension about making music. He brought a wider knowledge and a greater diversity of musical experiences to bear on making music than any professional musician I ever met but he never got the slightest tan from the musical limelight.

14. 3. 2011 | read more...

Terry Melcher (1942-2004)

[by Ken Hunt, London] Terry Melcher, who died of cancer on 19 November 2004, was a man of many parts and, as Doris Day’s son, doors opened for him. Her only son, he was born Terry Jorden on 8 February 1942. Taking the surname of his mother’s third husband, Martin Melcher (who legally adopted him), he helped shape a generation’s musical consciousness and define the West Coast folk-rock sound. Before that he wrote songs, for instance, with Bobby Darin and Randy Newman, for his mother and for Paul Revere and the Raiders (for whom he penned Him Or Me (What’s It Gonna Be).

21. 2. 2011 | read more...

Suchitra Mitra (1924-2011)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Bengali singer Suchitra Mitra died on 3 January 2011 at her home of many years, Swastik on Gariahat Road in Ballygunge, Kolkata. She was famed as one of the heavyweight interpreters of the defining Bengali-language song genre form called Rabindra sangeet – or Rabindrasangeet (much like the name Ravi Shankar can also be rendered Ravishankar). ‘Rabindra song’ is an eloquent, literary, light classical song form, derived from the name of the man who ‘invented’ it, Rabindranath Tagore, the winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature.

31. 1. 2011 | read more...

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