breaking news



                   Farewell Solomon Burke, King of Soul

The man everyone considered the King of Soul died in Amsterdam on Sunday 10 October, aged 70. He was Solomon Burke, the astounding voice and wonderful song-writer of so many hits, though it is probably his most famous song, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, the sound-column to the cult film “The Blues Brothers “, which we’ll most often find ourselves humming and smiling along to.

Burke was a generous, sensitive artist, and I had not just the good luck to know him personally, but the unexpected honour and privilege of singing a duet with him.
It was the 11 December 2008, when he came to Lugano to conclude the pre-Christmas concert at RTSI, Italian-Swiss Radio and Television – a live concert which traditionally brought the network’s concert season to an end.

I’d been invited by my good friend Jacky Marti, director of RTSI’s long-standing calendar of musical events in the Canton Ticino; the most famous is the summer jazz festival “ Estival Jazz ”, which regularly brings together state-of-the-art world music.

I was there in the front row, humming happily along to the wondrous R & B rhythms Burke was producing, when all of a sudden, over the perky notes of “Proud Mary”,he was asking me to step up onto the stage and sing it. Well I was “Proud Rita”, definitely, but, well, disconcerted. I tried to explain,    once I was up there, that his pitch wasn’t right for me so … But he didn’t even let me finish: he just got that phenomenal band of his to pitch it to my range and off I launched into a mini show-within-the-show.

The result was – though I say it myself - fantastic. When the clapping stopped, I thanked Burke and the orchestra, got down from the stage, and, still stunned, sank into my seat to try to concentrate on the rest of the concert, but not for long: there he was again, calling me up for a duet this time, a wondrous “Silent Night”. The audience went wild, but you don’t have to take their word for it: have a look at this short clip.

Thanks straight from the heart, King of Soul, for that moment:
it was ... well let’s say it with a song title ... ‘Unforgettable’. And thanks for all you gave all of us, all your fans, with your magic music. The Heavens have every reason to welcome you with joy, and yet another reason for bursting into song.
One of your greatest fans,