R.I.P ~ Arturo Vega

Posted by s.j.d on Thursday, July 4, 2013


the bells ring. . . . . . . 
and now, all that we have,
is a final word.

we give heartfelt tribute 
to those that we love 
and to those whose love 
has touched our lives 
and whose message 
has been heard. 

with love and respect x S

"I only met Arturo Vega once, in passing. On the occasion of Never records exhibition in London, he had a solo show and seminar at the Tate an had passed by the studio to catch up with Ted. I had just recorded my version of this tune, and i remember Ted played it back enthusiastically on the vinyl he had just cut, as he commendedly does, and we all listened. Its a common feeling i have in the presence of respected artists, when demonstrating such themes or reflections, that leads to the perhaps unspoken thought of "what are you trying to do with this, like its been done already ... " and i remember this feeling pervading every second of the playback, perhaps my own or subtlely reflected from the guys, whilst we all stood there quietly and listened and mused as to what to make of it playing, and the song choice and the sounds ... like "is this Art? ... really? or um, i've heard that before, now what do you do?". I remember the reaction was slight, Arturo recognised the Gary Davis reference and commented on the good playing, and then asked if i write my own songs, to which i responded with something like my usual response of "thank you, well, i'm just working through the paces", which is of course a deliberately confusing and distracting answer to basically end that line of conversation, and avoid any certain judgement being passed. 

As it happens, I don't really believe there would be any judgement anyway as in that moment, we all quickly were passing by, and both of those fellows were busy in the midst of their own workings, enough not to dwell on the subject, or discuss it further, and in part to trivialise these workings of my own sub-conscious, its not that important a subject to be considered either way. 

Arturo seemed very fit, and healthy looking with a glowing vitality. Like the look of someone who worked very hard at life but played equally hard. His slim, vibrant and young in stature appearance obviously masked the transferance of these thoughts into human years with more silver shaved hair and lived in weathered skin, i would have, if asked, placed him as a young looking early to mid-50's yet still carrying the energy of someone perhaps 15 years his younger. I only work out now, he would have been 64 years old/young on this occasion. 

Now, two years ahead, he has passed on from his time here.

I only met Arturo Vega once in passing. I didn't know Arturo Vega, other than gathering from Ted how much respect, love and admiration he had for him as a friend and mentor and through this, gather his great influence to many others in this way too. Yet i felt this moment fitting on seeing tributes to pay all the respects i can, as i know through listening to Ted, just how deeply him leaving this life will leave a loss in the lifes of those who did know him well and loved him for the life he gave and the love he shared. 

R.I.P Arturo Vega (13th Oct. 1947 - 8th June 2013) ... 

memorial prayer card (photo - H.McCracken)


Death Don't Have No Mercy (davis) 

This is my take on another Blind Rev. Gary Davis song. i heard it on his Harlem street singer L.P from the late 50's. 

I felt inspired to play this and approach this theme, through the passing of my father just months before. I feel its not so much about sadness because he wouldn't have wanted that, but more personally coming to terms with the loss and in the greater, something which is out of your control. 

Ringing of the bell. 

R.I.P - Hew Blackwood Downes ... Aug.1946 - June.2012 ... x bless up Pops x