World Music Central’s list of musicians, scholars and music industry professionals who left us in 2008.
Dennis Clifton, 54, musician and studio engineer. Starting out playing on the road and in jazz clubs, Clifton later joined the band FCC (Funky Communications Commission). He went on to work as a studio musician and played in the bluegrass band Cornbread Red.
Victor Quero Blaya “El Charico,” 28, singer. flamenco singer Quero began performing at 13 in Granada, Spain. He would later go on to play in famed flamenco clubs such as La Cíngara, Los Tarantos and La Venta del Gallo. He performed with the likes of Emilio Maya, Jaime Heredia “El Parron,” Antonio Campos and Rafael Santiago “Habichuela.”
O.G. Style, 37, rapper. Beginning his career as Prince Ezzy-E, he later changed his name to Original E. Together with D.J. Big Boss, the pair released I Know How To Play ‘Em.
Keith Baxter, 36, drummer. The British drummer was the founder of the group Skyclad. He later moved to London and joined the rock band 3 Colours Red. His discography includes albums Pure, Revolt and The Union of Souls.
Vernon Derrick, 74, musician. Derrick started out playing professionally as a teenager with Flatt and Scruggs. He later went on to play fiddle and mandolin with the Hank Williams Jr. Bama Band. He is also known for having penned bluegrass favorites “The Arab Bounce” and “Big Country.”
Cy Leslie, 85, founder of Pickwick Records and first president of the MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group. The Pickwick label’s roster included Elvis Presley.
Ken Nelson, 96, record producer. Mr. Nelson was an A & R executive for Capitol Records and produced such artist as Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Hank Thompson. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Raffaello de Bannfield, 85, composer. He was a British-born composer who created the ballets Le Combat, Quatuor and Acostino, as well as the works For Ophelia and Serale.
Valdo Delgado, 41, musician. Considered one of Argentina’s premier charango virtuosos, Delgado was a member of the group Miles de Años based in Mendoza, Argentina and known for recordings Miles de Años, Sutra and Plexo. He died in a car crash along with fellow musician Eduardo Pinto.
Detlef Kraus, 88, pianist. Mr. Kraus was a German pianist best known for his expertise on the works of Johannes Brahms. He performed around the world and taught at the Konservatorium Osnabruk and folkwanghochschule in Essen. He also published numerous writings on Brahms.
Eduardo Pinto, 28, musician. Multi-instrumentalist that played bass, piano, guitar and percussion, Pinto was also part of the musical group Miles de Años. He was also known as a producer and arranger. Not content with any one genre, Pinto lent his considerable talents to jazz, reggae, folk, world and rock music.
Clyde Otis, 83, songwriter and producer. Mr. Otis was a Mercury producer for singer Brook Benton, resulting in such songs as “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” and “So Many Ways.” Mr. Otis also produced hits for Sarah Vaughn. He was the first African American A & R executive for a major U.S. label. He received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2000.
Lew Spence, 87, songwriter. A songwriter originally from Cedarhurst, New York, Mr. Spence is best remembered for writing “Nice ‘N’ Easy” which was recorded Frank Sinatra and garnered 3 Grammy nominations. He also wrote “That Face” and “Half As Lovely (Twice A True).” Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole were just a few of the singers who recording Spence’s songs.
Rod Allen, 63, singer and bassist. He was the lead singer and bassist for the English band The Fortunes. The group gained attention for their 1965 hit “You’ve Got Your Troubles” that made it onto the American and British top ten hit lists.
Dave Day, musician. Banjo player and rhythm guitarist for the late 1960s rock group The Monks. Made up of American GIs based in Germany, The Monks discography includes Black Monk Time and Five Upstart Americans.
Katsutoshi Nagasawa, 84, Japanese composer. Mr. Nagasawa was a classical composer who created works for traditional Japanese instruments. He is known for works Two Dances, One Day in Spring and Quartet for Koto and Jushichigen.
Pete Candoli, 84, trumpeter. Candoli played with big bands like Woody Herman, Stan Kenton and Tommy Dorsey. He later moved to the west coast and became collaborator and studio musician for music heavyweights like Henry Mancini and Frank Sinatra. He was inducted into the International jazz Hall of Fame in 1997.
Sergey Larin, 51, Lithuanian tenor. Mr. Larin debuted in Lithuanian opera’s La Traviata in 1981. He would go on to perform Carmen in Covent Garden and Turandot in China. He is also noted for the recording of Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa.
Hakurotwi Mude, 72, musician. Zimbabwean mbira master and Shona singer, Mr. Mude will be remembered for recordings Zimbabwe: The Soul of the Mbira and Zimbabwe of Mbira Music.
Carlos, 64, singer. Born Yvan-Chrysostome Dolto, he later took the stage name Carlos in honor of the percussionist Carlos “Patato” Valdes. His discography includes Bamba Carlos, L’amour Ça Rend Bô Lélé, La France Le Matin and Le Bougalou Du Loup-Garou.
Pier Miranda Ferraro, 83, Italian tenor. Mr. Ferraro made is opera debut at the famed La Scala opera house in 1951 and continued to make appearances there until 1972. He is perhaps best known for his role in Otello by Guiseppi Verdi.
Frank Lewin, 82, composer. Music composer and editor for many documentaries, feature and television films, Mr. Lewin also composed the operas Gulliver and Burning Bright, as well as composed countless theater, orchestral and choral works.
Andy Palacio, 47, musician and activist from Belize. During his career, Andy Palacio released five recording, worked as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, championed the Garífuna people, served as the head of the National Institute of Culture and History and was a cultural ambassador for Belize. Palacio will be remembered for recordings that include the 1990 Nabi and the 2007 Wátina. He was posthumously awarded a BBC 3 World Music award.
John Stewart, 68, American folk singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as a member of The Kingston Trio and their gold record Tom Dooley. After the breakup of The Kingston Trio, Stewart went on to pursue a solo career and wrote “Daydream Believer” for The Monkees. His solo career recordings include Dream Babies Go to Hollywood, American Journey and The Day the River Sang.
Talivaldis Kenins, 88, Canadian composer who composed Cello Sonata, Violin Sonata No. 2, Beatae Voces Tenebrae, Scherzo Concertante and 8 symphonies and other sonatas and concertos.
Tommy McQuater, 93, British jazz trumpeter. Turned professional trumpeter in his teens, Mr. McQuater went on to record Fall Guy with Johnny Dankworth, Early Days 1935-1944 with George Chisholm and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square with The Vile Bodies Swing Band.
Ghorban Soleimani, 87, Iranian vocalist, dotar player and innovator of a new version of the gopuz, a stringed, Azeri instrument. He was a prolific and celebrated performer. He was awarded the ‘Best and Most Authentic Musician Award’ by the Festival of Revolutionary Songs and Music in 1990, as well as the title ‘Real National Treasure’ in France’s Avignon music festival.
Stefan Niculescu, 80, Romanian composer and teacher. He is known for works Ison II and Opus Dacicum and music awards that included the International Record Critics Award and the Herder Prize.
Evelyn Barbirolli, 97, musician. She was a British oboist with the touring company of the Royal Opera House and the Scottish Orchestra under the direction of Sir John Barbirolli. Later in her life she taught at the Royal Academy of Music.
Jeff Salen, 55, guitarist and one of the founders of the punk rock band Tuff Darts. The band’s only recording Tuff Darts was released in 1978 and re-released in 2002.
Sean Finnegan, 43, drummer for the hardcore punk/thrash band Void based in Washington, D.C. The group released the Faith/Void Split LP recording in 1982.
Kim Chang-ik, 50, South Korean drummer. With brothers Kim Chang-wan and Kim Chang-hun, Kim Chang-ik formed the rock group Sanulrim or Mountain Echo. They released their first album Anibeolsseo in 1977.