2008 Music Obituaries, December


World Music Central’s list of musicians, scholars and music industry professionals who left us in 2008.


Mikel Laboa, 74, singer and songwriter. Mr. Laboa was a revered Basque singer and songwriter. He is remembered as a political artist and one founders of the Basque revitalization cultural group Ez Dok Amairu. His discography includes Lau Herri Kanta, Haika Mutil, Lau-bost and Xoriek.

H. Sridhar, 50, sound engineer. Mr. Sridhar was a sound engineer best known for his work for A.R. Rahman. He also engineered and mixed recordings for the likes of George Harison, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain and L. Shankar. His recordings include Bumbai, Daud: Fun on the Run and Jodhaa Akbar.

Odetta, 77, singer, musician and songwriter. Known as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” Odetta was a powerhouse of American folk, blues and jazz music, as well as an influential part of the American folk revival of the 1950s and 60s. At the 1963 civil rights march in Washington D.C., Odetta captured a nationwide audience with her rendition of “O Freedom.” Her recordings include Sings Ballads and Blues, Odetta Sings Dylan, Odetta Sings Folk Songs and Odetta Sings the Blues.

Derek Wadsworth, 69, musician and composer. Mr. Wadsworth was a jazz trombonist and sessions musician, as well as a composer and arranger. He collaborated on the music to televisions Christa: Swedish Fly Girls, Alfie Darling and The Day After Tomorrow. He also is credited as an arranger for the likes of Judy Garland, Nina Simone, Kate Bush and The Rolling Stones.

Richard Van Allan, 73, singer. Mr. Van Allan was an operatic bass who appeared at Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House and the English National Opera. He performed in Fidelio, Carmen, The Barber of Seville and Aida. His discography includes Gilbert and Sullivan: The Mikado, Don Giovanni and Verdi: Luisa Miller with Luciano Pavarotti and Montserrat Caballé.

Rúnar Júlíusson, 63, musician. Mr. Júlíusson was a bassist and vocalist best known for his membership with the Icelandic rock band Thor’s Hammer. He also had been a member of the groups Trúbrot and Lónlí Blú Bojs. Mr. Júlíusson founded his own record label, Geimsteinn, in 1976. His discography includes the EP Umbarumbamba and the compilation From Keflavik, With Love.

Dominic Mallary, 24, singer. Mr. Mallary was the lead singer of the rock group Last Lights. Mr. Mallary was part of Boston’s punk rock scene.

Anca Parghel, 51, singer. Ms. Parghel was a Romanian jazz singer who performed at jazz festivals in Leipzig, Warsaw, Zagreb, Brussels and Vienna. She also taught at the Brussel’s Royal Conservatory of Music and Leuven’s Lemmens Music Conservatory. Her discography includes Soul, My Secret Place, Magic Bird, Carpathian Colours and Zamorena.

Dennis Yost, 65, singer. Mr. Yost was the drummer and vocalist for the rock band Classics IV. The group had hits with “Spooky,” “Stormy” and “Traces.” Mr. Yost’s other recordings include Lil’ Bit of Gold, The Very Best of Classics IV and Best of Dennis Yost & The Classics IV.

Didith Reyes, 60, singer. Ms. Reyes was a Filipino singer and actress, remembered as the “Jukebox Queen” for her love ballads of the 1970s. She was known for hits “Nananabik,” Hindi Kami Damong” and Hatiin Natin Ang Gabi.” She earned a best performer award in 1977 at the Tokyo Music Festival. Her other singles include “Aliw” and “Araw-araw.”

Ramón Barce, 80, composer. Mr. Barce was a self-taught Spanish composer in the expressionistic, atonal style. He would later develop his own harmonic system. He founded the New Music Group in Madrid as well as the music journal Sonda. Mr. Barce later became a music critic for the Madrid publication Ya. His works include La Nave Volante, Obertura Fonética and Siala.

Valentin Berlinsky, 83, musician. Mr. Berlinsky was a cellist with the famed Borodin Quartet from 1945 to 2007. The quartet became famous for their Shostakovich series tour that went around the world. The quartet also is credited with playing at the funerals of Joseph Stalin and Sergei Prokofiev.

Davy Graham, 68, musician. Mr. Graham was a guitarist in the 1960s folk music scene best known for his instrumental track “Anji.” He is credited for delving into various genres beyond folk including world, jazz and blues. His recordings include The Guitar Player, Folk, Blues & Beyond, Midnight Man, All that Moody and Playing in the Traffic.

Jay E. Welch, 83, musician and music director. Mr. Welch is best remembered as the music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and founder of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus. Mr. Welch also was a professor at the University of Utah’s School of Music.

Harold Gramatges, 90, musician and composer. Mr. Gramatges was a Cuban composer and founder of the Municipal Conservatory Orchestra. He also created the music department at the Casa de las Américas. His compositions include Icaro, Sonata for Piano, Duet for Flute and Piano and Symphony In Mi.

Turgun Alimatov, 85, musician. Mr. Alimatov was an Uzbek musician, playing the dutar and tanbur, and composer. Playing and composing traditional Uzbek music, Mr. Alimatov was known for such songs as “Segah” and “Nawa.” He was a popular figure in musical theater and radio.

Freddy Breck, 66, singer. Mr. Breck was known as a German schlager singer and composer, as well as producer. He is remembered for the singles “Uberall Auf Der Welt,” “Bianca,” “Die Serne Steh’n Gut” and “Frauen Und Wein.” He later founded his own record label, Sun Day Records, with his wife. His discography includes Rote Rosen Für Dich, Sommerliebe and Wir Zwei.

Feliciano Vierra Tavares, 88, musician and singer. Mr. Tavares was a singer and guitarist from Cape Verde. He was the father of the Grammy-winning Tavares Brothers. Mr. Tavares was an advocate of traditional music from Cape Verde and worked within his community of Hyannis, Massachusetts to inspire children to learn music.

Page Cavanaugh, 86, musician and singer. Mr. Cavanaugh was a jazz pianist and vocalist. He began his career with Ernie Williamson’s band and later went on to form a trio with guitarist Al Viola and bassist Lloyd Pratt. The trio had hits with “The Three Bears” and “All of Me.” The trio also performed on the radio program Songs by Sinatra and The Jack Paar Show. His discography includes Crazy Rhythm and Return to Elegance with the Page Cavanaugh Trio.

Alf Robertson, 67, singer and composer. Mr. Robertson was a singer and composer from Sweden. His discography includes Sånger Mina Vänner Sjöng, Mitt Land, Symfoni and Alf Robertsons Bästa.

Eartha Kitt, 81, singer. Ms. Kitt was an actress and singer who was made famous with her 1953 Christmas song “Santa Baby.” She had hits “Let’s Do It,” “C’est Si Bon” and “Love for Sale.” Her discography includes Just an Old Fashioned Girl, Under the Bridges of Paris, This is My Life and I Don’t Care.

Robert Ward, 70, singer and musician. Mr. Ward was a blue singer and guitarist known for his membership in the group the Ohio Untouchables, who would later be called the Ohio Players. His recordings include Fear No Evil, Rhythm of the People, Hot Stuff and New Role Soul.


Delaney Bramlett, 69, songwriter and producer. Mr. Bramlett was a songwriter and producer, as well as a singer and musician. Mr. Bramlett co-wrote the song “Superstar” with Leon Russell. Later he went on to write “Let It Rain” with Eric Clapton. His “Never Ending Love Song of Love” has been recorded by over 100 artists. Mr. Bramlett’s discography includes Accept No Substitute, Motel Shot, Country Life and A New Kind of Blue.

Roque Cordero, 91, composer. Mr. Cordero was a composer from Panama. He was director of the Institute of Music, director and conductor of the national Symphony of Panama and assistant director of the Latin American Music Center. He later taught at Indiana University and Illinois State University. His compositions include Rapsodia Campesina, Sonata Breve for Solo Piano and Second Symphony.

Lars Hollmer
Lars Hollmer
Lars Hollmer, 60, musician and composer. Mr. Hollmer was an accordionist and keyboardist known in the progressive rock scene. He played with the band Samla Mammas Manna, Von Zamla, the group Accordion Tribe and the guitarist Fred Frith. He earned a Swedish music award for his recording Andetag in 1999. His discography includes Samla Mammas Manna and Kaka with the group Samla Mammas Manna; Familjesprickor with Zamla Mammaz Manna; Sea of Reeds with Accordion Tribe and solo albums Utsikter, Vandelmässa, Door Floor Something Window: Live 1992 & 1993 and Viandra.

Freddie Hubbard, 70, musician. Mr. Hubbard was a jazz trumpeter, known in the bebop and hard bop scenes of the 1960s and later. Mr. Hubbard appeared on such stellar recordings as Ole Coltrane with John Coltrane, Art Blakeys’s Caravan and Mosaic and Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz. His discography includes Open Sesame, Minor Mishap, Blue Spirits, The Love Connection, Red Clay and Live at Fat Tuesday.

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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