Death is inevitable, but life moves on. The melodies last forever.
On Friday night, we heard of the demise of DJ Avicii. He was only 28. Yet he had been a star in the electronic dance music movement for a while.
Obviously, fans were shattered. They shared his music and passed on sadness emojis on social media. There were praises of his enormous talent.
And, he wasn’t alone in this sudden shock of the news. Over the past few years, if we stick to international music, there were Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, David Bowie, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Prince, Glenn Campbell, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, many others. There have been many Indian musicians but to take three examples of great female vocalists, there were Kishori Amonkar, Girija Devi and Veena Sahasrabuddhe.
In each case, a fan will be immediately shattered. There are talks about the cause of death. Natural old age, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, AIDS, accident, addiction, overdose, suicide, murder et al.
Who expected Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Jim Reeves, John Denver and Stevie Ray Vaughan to succumb in air mishaps? Whoever wanted Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison to die within a year, of similar causes, all at age 27? Blues legend Robert Johnson also that age? Or Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention to just fall off the stairs for her last breath? Who imagined Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Jeff Buckley and Amy Winehouse would leave us so early? Why did classical composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart die at 35 and Franz Schubert at 31 when they could have given us so much more? Beethoven at 57. John Lennon at 40. Jazz great Charlie Parker at 34. The list is endless.
We all wanted them to enthral and entertain us forever. But then, life and death are unpredictable, and so is everything in between. For fans, things slowly settle down. The idea is to celebrate a musician’s life. Their contribution to the galaxy of music, irrespective of the age they left us.
A great example here is how tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and his brothers Fazal Qureshi and Taufiq Qureshi remember their legendary father Ustad Allarakha’s life. His April 29 birthday is marked by an evening concert and his February 3 death anniversary with a day-long homage.
Legends live on. Their creation is immortal. Years later, we still bask in the music of Mozart, Presley, Morrison, Joplin, Jackson, Bowie, Prince and Cohen. On that note let’s continue to listen to Soundgarden, Linkin Park and Avicii. Thank you for the music.
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- 2018.10.02Strings, Winds & Beats – The Veena
- 2018.09.26A musical birthday chat with Dev Anand