Lil Richard who ignited big fires of Rock and roll leaves the world stage
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Good Golly Miss Molly, Little Richard is no more! And the death, at age 87, of the legendary “rock and roll architect” has dampened the tempo in music-mad Goa.
“No band’s rock-and-roll medley is complete without Little Richard’s songs,” says Chrystal Farrell, lead female vocalist for the band, A26.
As anyone who has ever attended a classic Goan Catholic wedding will tell you, the live band plays different sets of tempo-specific music, with the intention of raising the mood slowly to a crescendo before calming it down again.
Little Richard’s, or rather Richard Wayne Penniman’s Tutti Frutti, Whole Lot of Shakin Going On, Lucille and the good ol’ Good Golly are among the hot favourites of wedding and dance ensembles.
“Little Richard was like a little wild fire,” Farrell says fondly of the 1.77m-tall superstar’s energetic style of piano-playing and shouted vocals.
Musician Paul ‘Paulie’ Fernandes, whose repertoire of songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, includes several Little Richard covers, including Slippin’ and Slidin’, says, “It doesn’t matter what age you are and what function you attend—a wedding, party or dance—you will be dancing to music that came out in the 60s and 70s and that are still just as popular.”
Recalling the musical contributions of not just Little Richard, but other equally-influential American musicians of African origin, such as Louis Armstrong and Chuck Berry, Fernandes says they were “like Goans when it comes to having music in their blood”.
“Though 87 is a good age to live till, it is still a great loss that Little Richard is no more. We’re thankful to him and all the others for giving us such great music,” says Fernandes, whose Facebook live show on May 24th, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, will pay tribute to some Little Richard covers.
Bassist Colin D’Cruz, in his soft-spoken witty style, points out, “Not many musicians get to be called Little at the age of 87.”
Recalling that he played Little Richard’s music in the 80s “when the songs were chartbusters”, D’Cruz of jazzgoa.com bemoans that today’s younger generation may not even know of Little Richard since “all they listen to is Electronic Dance Music”.
Tony Fernandes of band Tidal Wave offers his tribute: “The legacy left behind by Little Richard is huge, inspiring and educational. His voice, piano playing and stage charisma could make a believer out of anyone. May he rock-n-roll with all the greats up there.” [H]