Harlem Cultural Festival (1969) (Nina Simone)
I thought I’d had my tour when the doctor, returning to his office, noticed a silhouette through his glass-paneled door. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘This will interest you. You mustn’t miss this.’ Then he told the young black man waiting in the office that his sister was about to slip away. We went down the ward to see the sister. I was introduced and said, ‘How are you?’ She said, ‘Fine thanks. How are you?’
~Renata Adler [buy]
Mein junges Leben hat ein End (c. 1600) (Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck) [Columbus State University Trombone Octet; Bradley Palmer, director]
The response from the public was immediate. The state’s lieutenant governor, Mazie Hirono, received so many requests from the public for some kind of official recognition of Israel’s death that she announced that all Hawai’i flags would be flown at half-mast the day of his funeral. The outpouring of grief was so widespread that the governor, Ben Cayetano, gave over the Hawai’i state capitol rotunda in downtown Honolulu for Israel’s memorial service. (Not without controversy; Israel was only the third person ever to lie in state in the capitol, following a governor and a United States senator.) Gaylord Holomalia arranged an all-star memorial concert to run all night at the rotunda, and a team of almost 50 family members and friends hand-crafted a koa-wood coffin big enough to hold Israel’s mammoth body. Lines wound their way around the rotunda on July 9, as thousands of friends and strangers, Hawaiians and locals and haoles, came to pay their respects.
But Israel’s real funeral was the next Saturday. A miles-long line of cars and trucks stretched from downtown, around the southwest corner of the island, up the two-lane highway to Makua Beach. Israel’s ashes were scattered from a boat into the water at Makua, with Skippy’s widow, Donna Leialoha Amina — Mel’s wife — in the water to ceremonially greet them. It was Donna who told a reporter when Israel died that now the brothers had been reunited, joking, ‘That’s a dangerous combination!’ As the voluminous ashes — ‘huge,’ said Moe Keale, ‘like nothing I’d seen before’ — settled into the sea, first Marlene, then Wehe, then the rest of the family and friends, dove into the waves for a final swim with Israel.
From the water, the mourners heard the sound of horns echoing off the mountains. Dozens of O’ahu’s big-rig drivers had joined the procession, laying on their air horns all the way up the coast. To Roland Cazimero, the horns were the most mournful sound he’d ever heard. ‘It sounded like the island was wailing for the passing of an ali’i,’ Roland said. ‘From out there it sounded like the island was crying.’
~Dan Kois [buy]