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Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:45 am
by John Crosby
Just heard the news at 1.30am. Very, very sad.

Charlie was that rare thing. A decent human being. What you saw with him was what you got. I can't think of any time in my years of dealing with him, that I ever saw any ulterior motives or the kind of egocentric attitudes often found in the music business.

We first made contact when I was new to PR and working at Topic back in 1985. I'd sent him a new artist's tape (you can tell how long ago that was by the format) and after a couple of weeks I received a three page letter outlining his thoughts on the music. Though it wasn't really his scene -- English gypsy music -- he was interested in what I was doing and gave me some media pointers that proved useful. Without any thought of personal gain, he took the time to try and nurture new people coming along.

We got to know each other well over the years when I was working with Mariza, Yasmin Levy, Camille and others (all of whom benefited from his support). When I had a heart attack in 2005, he phoned and encouraged me to get well and back to work (not always an easy task when you have a near-death experience).

I'm too upset to write more other than that his opinions and insight are going to be sorely missed. RIP Charlie.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:58 am
by Radio NZ
Our deepest condolences at the loss of a passionate broadcaster and avid music fan. We remember fondly Charlie coming down to NZ in 2005 for a joint production to cover the Womad Festival here. We have also been broadcasting The World Of Music programme for a number years, and Charlie will have many fans and followers in New Zealand, and I'm sure around the rest of the planet. He will be missed.
Kindest regards
John Pilley
Music Production Manager
Radio New Zealand

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:03 am
by Rob Hall
worldserviceproducer wrote:Hello. I'm a producer on a BBC World Service news programme. We're obviously covering the fact that Charlie has passed away. I was wondering, given all the thousands and thousands of songs Charlie must have played on his shows, whether anyone who knew him can suggest a piece of music or a song that was one of his personal favourites, that we could play a bit of on our programme, The World Today.

Also, if anyone has any thoughts on the "must have" interview, the person we should really be interviewing about Charlie, please do say.

Best wishes


Ann, there has already been a similar request made here, for suggestions as to who might have something to say on the subject of Charlie's passing. The names of Peter Gabriel and Damon Albarn were mentioned. I would add to those suggestions the names of Ian A Anderson, Nick Hornby and Nick Lowe.

As for a piece of music that he loved, the first that sprang to my mind when I heard the awful news of Charlie's death tonight was "How Far To The Horizon" by Jesse Winchester, which Charlie chose as the opening track on his most recent "Honky Tonk" compilation.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:18 am
by Yves Santoire
Two hours have passed since I've heard the news, I'm numb...where to begin, I have no idea.

We have lost a formidable talent but, more importantly, a great man has left us.

Deepest appreciation Charlie,


PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:30 am
by dsocha
I first began listening to Mr. Gillett while living in The Gambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His program was special to me. Mr. Gillett had a fondness for West African music that I shared. Through his program I learned of tons of musicians, and for that I am grateful. Thank-you Mr. Gillett for your lifetime of work. May you rest in peace.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:51 am
by Ken Josenhans
Before 2000, Charlie Gillett was just a name to me, someone mentioned in the pages of fRoots magazine; he was obviously a significant figure in the music world I appreciated, but he was also pretty distant from America. Radio hadn't gone global yet unless you were a shortwave enthusiast.

I'm thankful that in the Internet era, I got to hear lots of Charlie's broadcasts on the net. First there was the very obscure and forgotten site -- I still treasure memories of summer late night drives through the Colorado mountains with cassette tapes of Charlie's WEN show. Later I could listen to the shows on BBC London and Radio 3. I loved listening to Charlie's voice, and the musical selections were always interesting. Still later came this forum, where we could bat topics around with Charlie and the assembled crowd. Really, it didn't seem like any distance at all any more.

Thanks to Charlie for all the energy, and enthusiasm, and community building.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:52 am
by liz molony
I've just heard the news and woken in tears to read these posts. What telling tributes to a great man and his lovable nature. It warmed my heart that someone so busy and known to so many could still find time to encourage a new listener. I am so grateful he encouraged me to use this website. What an opening to a whole new life this has been and how much I am going to miss his shows... his kindly voice that made you feel you were part of an intimate welcoming group, and his immense enthusiasm and knowledge.
Thank you Charlie for this wonderful journey and the music it's brought me. Don't lets lose the joy you shared.

My deepest sympathies are with his family and all these long standing friends here.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:19 am
by NickH
Belatedly catching up with the many comments and tributes to this terrible news. Like John Peel, Charlie was one of the great radio broadcasters. After more than 30 years of listening to him on the radio, it's really hard to believe he has gone.
Some lovely Radio 3 footage of Charlie welcoming guests to his 2009 Womad broadcast on the link below.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:47 am
by joel
My deepest condolences to Charlie's family. He will be missed.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:57 am
by John Leeson
A note from Toronto...

Like some others, it's hard to write anything now to express the loss I feel, and appreciation for what Charlie has meant to me.

I never met him, but given my love of much of the same music, his presence in so many forms over years (decades) was was so important to me it is indeed a very personal and painful loss.

From the time I picked up The Sound of the City back in 1971 or 1972 to listening every week to his various radio shows over the Internet, to his presence on this website and forum website, his presence, and his personality seem to have been a part of my life.

I was surprised to be contacted tonight by the BBC World Service for a brief interview... I think it was partly because they needed to find people somewhere in the world available to talk at 2am UK time! I don't know if I added anything, but I was glad to talk about Charlie, as I had earlier in the evening with friends here.

It's a pitifully poor understatement to say I will miss him. My sincere condolences to his family and to those around him.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:16 am
by jayaram

I am deeply saddened by the news that Charlie Gillett has died. I owe my love of World Music entirely to Charlie Gillett and to Andy Kershaw before him.
The BBC greatly influenced my tastes in Western Classical music and opened my ears to the great music of West Africa, South America and many other parts of the world.
Charlie Gillett's show has been the only music programme on the World Service that has interested me, now that Western Classical music has been pulled for many years.
I dearly hope the BBC will keep that slot and hand it over to Lucy Duran, Lopa Kothari, Mary Ann Kennedy or Verity Sharp.
That would be the best way of keeping Charlie Gillett's memory, and his valuable legacy, alive.

N. Jayaram
Hong Kong

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:58 am
by ralphyt
such sad news on a beautiful spring day.

i was fortunate to meet the great man once and i think it said everything about him. i was sat behind a raffish silver-haired gentleman at a gig a few years ago. fortified with dutch courage i tapped him on the shoulder and stumbled out the words "excuse me, aren't you cg?". he was charm personified and put me completely at ease and, i seem to remember, asked me most of the questions!

as we were leaving the gig, someone tapped me on the shoulder. it was charlie again and in the melee of people rushing to get home he made a point of thanking me for introducing myself to him earlier in the night. what a gent! to say it made my day - nay year - is an understatement.

charlie, thanks for everything. you revived my jaded musical palette and many others, i suspect. thanks for making my days considerably brighter.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:14 am
by Laura Lee Davies
As a teenager growing up in London, Charlie was an inspiration. I even had his photo alongside the likes of Julian Cope and Ian Dury stuck on my school songbook.
Over more recent years I got to know Charlie when our paths crossed at various points at the BBC. How great to find what a lovely person he was, always enthusiastic and generous with his advice and thoughts and forever driven by his love of MUSIC.
It is incredibly sad that we have lost him from this world, but how wonderful that all of us have been touched by his energy, passion and ideas - this will never be lost for so, so many people all around the world. A beautiful voice we will never forget.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:39 am
by Ronald
I am still stunned after reading the news about Charlie. I read that he suffered from heart failure but I thought you could grow old with it. Apparently his condition took a turn for the worse. What sad sad news. My condolences to his family, may he rest in peace.

Re: Charlie's gone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:40 am
by wolfmountains
I have just read this on the BBC News website and it's very sad news. My musical tastes span a great number of genres and whilst I have my favourites, it was Charlie more than anybody who taught me to look outside what we'd probably call the 'Western World' and who opened my mind up to music from all four corners of the planet. A truly inspirational broadcaster.