'Graceland' Guitarist And Arranger Ray Phiri Dies, Age 70

Discussion in 'Music Forums' started by hjames, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    VA near DC
    I heard this mentioned on NPR on the way home yesterday and heard nothing about it anywhere else.
    I got home and had to play the album as we prepared for dinner -
    the music is just so infectious you can't sit still!

    One of South Africa's top musicians — and an artist whose sound was known the world over, thanks to Paul Simon's album Graceland — has died. Guitarist, vocalist and composer Ray Chikapa Phiri was 70 years old. He had been battling lung cancer, and died early this morning in a hospital in the northeastern city of Nelspruit. His death was announced by a family spokesperson, Paul Nkanyane.

    Internationally, Phiri was known primarily for his contributions to Paul Simon's Graceland album and ensuing tours; it was his guitar and arrangements that helped define the distinctly South African sound of the project.

    In a 2012 documentary about the making of Graceland titled Under African Skies, Phiri explained his decision to participate in the collaboration.

    "Here I was, living in South Africa," Phiri said, "and then here comes a particular individual called Paul Simon. For me, music is the closest thing to religion. And if it's utilized in the right way, it can inform and bring people closer, and they can find solutions to their problems. And Graceland did that."

    At home, Phiri was also celebrated as the co-founder of the influential group Stimela, a popular fusion band that melded smooth jazz with mbaqanga: an energetic, rhythm-heavy genre that itself married local styles with jazz.



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  2. cnolanh

    cnolanh Ad astra Subscriber

    Nashville, TN
    So sorry to hear of Ray's death. I just watched Under African Skies and enjoyed hearing from him.
  3. BlindBoyGrnt

    BlindBoyGrnt Nullius in verba Subscriber

    Sad news. RIP Ray Phiri
  4. IPADave

    IPADave AK Subscriber Subscriber

    So much talent is passing away these days. RIP. Graceland is such an iconic album. I hope to discover some of your other music.


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