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article imageRitchie Havens has left the building

By Richard Mccallum     Apr 22, 2013 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - His galvanizing energetic performance at Woodstock inducted a new generation of love into the heartfelt universe of folk and soul music, cosmic troubadour Ritchie Havens has succumbed to a heart attack at 72 and the planet mourns.
Havens, a New York City resident from the borough of Brooklyn was first introduced to the pop music zeitgeist when he heroically performed a three hour set as the opening act at the Woodstock Folk Festival outside the small village of Bethel in that great woodland state.
His thoughtful and intricate performance with just an acoustic guitar and his accompanist on bongos is classical and permanently etched on the minds of thousands of young folkies as definitive and timeless as are the electrically enhanced renditions from his other Woodstock alumni Galactic Guitar Warrior Jimi Hendrix and the Emperor of Soul and Funk; Mr Sylvester "Sly" Stewart and The Family Stone.
When the tripping promoters panicked and failed to fly in many of the undiscovered artists slated to open the Festival of Love, brave Havens stretched the folkie standard Motherless Children into a molten jam which he re-birthed as Freedom, the unofficial anthem of the be- in; providing a soothing palatable musical buffet for the wildly hallucinating yet mellow audience to digest, and set the stage for three days of peace and mud.
An edited version of Freedom is part of the Django Unchained soundtrack
Havens was also a talented actor who appeared in film and on stage in productions of Othello and Tommy as well as Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor.
He has recorded over two dozen studio and live recordings for a myriad of major and boutique record labels and was a legendary concert performer who circled the globe thrilling folk and rock music aficionados.
In 2012 He announced his retirement from the live concert circuit citing serious health concerns.
As his family prepares for the great protest singer's internment they have requested privacy and are planning a public remembrance to be announced at a later date.
"Beyond his music,those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light nature and his powerful presence." said his family in a prepared statement.
More about ritchie havens, Heart attack, Woodstock, Tommy, Othello
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