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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

RIP, Bhimsen Joshi (January 24, 2011) Highly Regarded Indian Vocalist

Posted by on January 24, 2011

Bhimsen Joshi
February 4, 1922 – January 24, 2011

Bhimsen Joshi was a respected Indian singer who sang in the Hinduist classical genre.  He was revered for his takes on devotional music.  Joshi was 19 when he first began performing live, and within a year he released his first album.   Over a career that spanned some seven decades, Joshi marveled audiences and critics alike at his concerts due to his remarkable vocal strength and command of his voice as an instrument.  In 2008, he received India’s highest civilian honor.  Bhimsen Joshi was 88 when he passed away on January 24, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Kari Tapio (December 7, 2010) Finnish Pop Star

Posted by on December 7, 2010

Kari Tapio (Born Kari Jalkenen)
November 22, 1945 – December 7, 2010

Kari Tapio was an extremely popular Finnish singer who launched his career some forty years ago.  He performed a style of music called “schlager” which is basically pop balladry.   Mounting his career during the ’60s, Tapio first performed with Jami & The Noisemakers and ER Quartet.   He released his first solo record in 1972.  In 1976, he scored his first hit single, “Laula Kanssain” (Sing With Me).  He continued releasing hit records as recently as 2008 when his “Valaise Yo” finished 2nd in the Eurovision Song Contest.  Much of his music was heavily influenced by American country & western.  In fact, he even made Finnish language recordings of songs by Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings. Kari Tapio suffered a fatal heart attack on December 7, 2010.  He was 65.

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RIP, Alphonsus Cassell aka Arrow (September 15, 2010) Popular Soca Performer

Posted by on September 15, 2010

Alphonse “Arrow” Cassell
November 16, 1954 – September 15, 2010

Known professionally as Arrow, Alphonsus Cassell was a highly resected West Indies Soca and Calypso singer-songwriter.  Cassell was still a child when he began singing back in the mid-60s and by the time he was 18, he recorded his first record.  In 1982, he released a song entitled “Hot Hot Hot,” which became the biggest selling Soca song in history.  Five years later, the New York Doll’s David Johansen had a pop hit with it under his alterego of Buster Poindexter.  Cassell continued to release hits through the ’80s and ’90s.  He continued to perform through the later years of his life.  On September 15, 2010, Alphonsus Cassell died of cancer at the age of 60.

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Died On This Date (August 16, 1997) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Posted by on August 16, 2010

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
October 13, 1948 – August 16, 1997

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a popular Punjabi singer and musician who played a form of Islamic music.  In 2006, Time magazine included him of a list of Asian heroes, while Spin called him one of 1998’s most influential musicians.  Khan found an audience in the West thanks to his work with Peter Gabriel which began in the mid ’80s, and later with Eddie Vedder and Massive Attack.  His 1997 Intoxicated Spirit received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk album.  Over the course of his 30+ year career, he recorded an astonishing 125 albums.   Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan died of cardiac arrest while awaiting a kidney transplant.  He was 48 years old.

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Died On This Date (August 12, 1985) Kyu Sakamoto / Japanese Pop Singer; Had Hit With “Sukiyaki”

Posted by on August 12, 2010

Kyu Sakamoto
December 10, 1941 – August 12, 1985

kyu_sukiyakiKyu Sakomoto was one of Japan’s most influential pop stars as well as a popular actor.  Since he sang in Japanese, he was basically unknown to English speaking music fans, however, he did have an American hit with “Sukiyaki” in 1963.  Released on Capitol Records, it became the first, and since, only Japanese sung song to hit #1 on the pop charts.  It stayed there for three weeks.   R&B group, A Taste Of Honey released an English cover of the song in 1981, while Latin pop star, Selena recorded a Spanish version that was released after her death.   On August 12, 1985, Kyu Sakamoto was aboard the ill-fated Japan Airlines Flight 123 when it suffered mechanical troubles and crashed into the side of a mountain.  He was one of 520 passengers who perished in what has been called the deadliest single-plane crash in history.  Sakamoto was 43.

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Died On This Date (August 2, 1997) Fela Kuti

Posted by on August 2, 2010

Fela Kuti
October 15, 1938 – August 2, 1997

An afro-beat pioneer, the Nigerian born Fela Kuti was considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.  Born to politically active parents in 1938, Kuti later went to London to study medicine, but switched to music.  While in college he formed his first band which introduced a sound that married jazz, funk and the West African traditional music, later to be called afro-beat.  While visiting the United States in 1969, Kuti was introduced to the Black Power movement, which would strongly influence his beliefs and music moving forward.  He soon became a target of the Nigerian government due to the confrontational lyrics in his songs.  His house was burned down and he was beaten by soldiers on multiple occasions.  But he kept doing what he did best, make great music with a strong message of the poeple.  To many, his voice and words were as important as Bob Marley’s were.  Fela Kuti died of complications from AIDS  on August 2, 1997.

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Died On This Date (July 30, 1995) Biggie Tembo / The Bhundu Boys

Posted by on July 30, 2010

Biggie Tembo
September 30, 1958 – July 30, 1995

Biggie Tembo was the charismatic lead singer and primary songwriter for the Zimbabwe band, Bhundu Boys.  Formed in 1981, the Bhundu Boys were very popular thanks to their unique style that married the local “chimurenga” music with elements of American rock, disco and country.  During the mid ’80s, their music began turning on new fans beyond Africa.  Both Elvis Costello and Eric Clapton raved about them, and Madonna invited them to open her Wembley Stadium.  Due to internal politics, Tembo left the band in 1990.  He committed suicide five years later.

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Died On This Date (July 28, 2008) Suzanne Tamim / Lebanese Pop Star

Posted by on July 28, 2010

Suzanne Tamim
September 23, 1977 – July 28, 2008

Suzanne Tamim was one of Lebanon’s most celebrated pop stars when she was found murdered in her Dubai apartment on July 28, 2008.  The beauty queen got her professional start thanks to an appearance on a Lebanese talent program in 1996.  She went on to record a few popular albums.  Her lifeless body was found in her apartment, he throat having been slit.  Two alleged hired hit men were subsequently arrested, tried and sentenced to death by hanging, but their sentences were overturned pending retrial in March of 2010.

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Died On This Date (July 28, 2008) Papa Wendo / Father of Congolese Rumba

Posted by on July 28, 2010

Papa Wendo (Born Antoine Kolosoy)
April 25, 1925 – July 28, 2008

“Papa” Wendo Kolosoy was a Congolese musician who successfully blended cha-cha, rumba, and tango, endearing him to world music fans around the globe.  He was affectionately called the “Father of Congolese Music.”  Kolosoy began singing when he was in his early teens working as a sailor along the Congo River – he used his talents to entertain the the other passangers.  By the mid ’50s he was one of the most popular Congolese musicians throughout Africa and beyond.  In 1965, Kolosoy began a long hiatus claiming his dislike at politicians using music and musicians to advance their agendas.    Kolosoy returned to music in 1997 after a change in political power in the Congo.  Papa Wendo passed away on July 28, 2008 at the age of 83.

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RIP, Carlos Torres Vila (July 16, 2010) Argentinian Folk Singer

Posted by on July 16, 2010

Carlos Torres Vila
November 9, 1946 – July 16, 2010

Carlos Torres Vila was a popular Argentinian folk singer whose career exploded during the ’70s thanks to his good looks and romantic folk songs.  He released around two dozen albums over the course of his career.  Carlos Torres Vila was 63 when he passed away following a long illness.

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