Trugoy’s death a devastating blow; and Burt Bacharach has left us too

Sadly this week the rap world has been rocked by the sad news that Trugoy, aka Dave Jolicoeur, one of the three members of De La Soul, has died, writes Stevie G in his Downtown column
Trugoy’s death a devastating blow; and Burt Bacharach has left us too

Burt Bacharach (with Dionne Warwick) who died just days before De La Soul’s Trugoy; both left important musical legacies.

It was only weeks ago that I wrote about De La Soul and their incredible contribution to the culture of hip-hop.

On the verge of the long overdue release of their back catalogue for the first time on digital formats, it was a celebratory article, but sadly this week the rap world has been rocked by the sad news that one of their three members, Trugoy, aka Dave Jolicoeur, has passed away.

It’s a devastating blow to one of music’s greatest ever groups, and a trio who never fell off in a 30 year-plus career of wonderful releases.

I won’t labour this news much this week as I don’t want to completely rehash that recent article, but I just want to reiterate that they touched the hearts and souls of nearly every rap fan in their long career. On a personal note, they changed everything for me, and turned me on to music of all varieties, and helped shape my own journey in too many ways to explain. De La Soul visited us many times here in Cork, and I DJ’d with them first down at the Showgrounds, in 2001.

The show was fantastic and was a pre-cursor to the great Live at the Marquee gigs in subsequent years. They later played at my Jam night in the Savoy and Dave and Pos returned as First Serve for the Jazz festival a few years later. Maseo played here on numerous occasions as a DJ too, and always made an impact. They were all great guys and it’s sad to see Trugoy leave us before time. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last.

I’ve been writing this column long enough to remember penning obituaries to greats from all over the world: Dilla, Prince, Aretha, Guru, Jam Master Jay, Pop Smoke, Biz Markie, Nate Dogg, Sharon Jones, Amy Winehouse and many more. But such is life, and we are all just passing through.

I’ve paid homage to many of our own local musical stalwarts here too in recent years, and with the passing of friends such as Fork, Peter the Kid and Ian Fiasco still fresh, it certainly gives pause for reflection whenever another important music person passes on.

In recent months there have been many other big names in the music world who have left us, but it’s always pretty cool to think that many of them will be remembered forever.

At the time of his passing, I remember noting that Ian Fiasco had died around the same time as the great Terry Hall, of the Specials.

Both were good guys who used their music to not only entertain but also as a vehicle for something else too, and both were people who stood up for what they felt was right in the world. I was thinking about this on Sunday morning, as I watched a wonderful old performance of Terry Hall singing ‘This Guy’s in Love with you’, one of the many classics penned by the mighty Burt Bacharach with Hal David.

Bacharach also died last week. Burt’s passing at the age of 94 may not have been as tragic as some of the other losses we have suffered recently, but his death also got me thinking once again about the power of music and the the power of the song. The Bacharach and David songbook is up there with the very best and the songs will be sung for centuries after any of us are gone. Imagine composing and writing something that will last forever? You really can’t ask for a bigger legacy. Immortality.

In recent months Trugoy, Burt, Ian and Terry were joined by others who passed on, at various stages of their musical journey: South African rapper AKA, Televison’s Tom Verlaine, Jeff Beck, Barrett Strong, Maxi Jazz, Thom Bell, Bertha Barbee-McNeal, Angelo Badalamenti, Keith Levene, Irene Cara, and Christine McVie are some of the great musicians now departed.

Each of their paths were very different, each equally colourful and each of their legacies will be remembered in individual ways.

I’m not trying to say that all of the music people are any more important than the regular folk who we all lose day in, day out, but it’s always great to acknowledge beautiful art and timeless music and celebrate the great lives that touch us in many different ways as we each navigate our own way through our time on this planet!

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