On a balmy summer night where the air was filled with the smell of onions and green peppers and various meats roasting on grills, and the laughter of children and the chatter of parents, friends and lovers, my wife and I turned a corner and stepped into a magical moment.

There in front of us was a stage with a cellist and a guitarist/singer and from this duo flowed the sound of the soul and agony of a people.

The song was “On The Turning Away” which was written by David Gilmour and Anthony Moore of Pink Floyd but had been totally brought under the craft and control of these two gifted musicians.

The crowd was captivated, the lyrics told our struggle –  stuck in this materialistic, I, me, mine, society where it is so easy to turn away from those who are truly in need. This was also in the middle of the G.W. Bush years. It was the finale of the show and we were blessed to have caught it.

This wasn’t about “bling” this was not a “performance”, this was one of our few elder statesmen speaking heart to heart –  not for “press” or “fame” but for what we used to call “the people” –  the hurt, the downtrodden, the forgotten…. 

He left us today and we mourn.

But I’ll always have that moment.


May God bless you Richie Havens

Jan. 21, 1941 –  April 22, 2013