Thursday, September 30, 2010

Robert Kirby remembered

Last October, gifted British arranger Robert Kirby passed away at the age of 61 following emergency heart surgery. Best remembered for his studio work with Cambridge pal Nick Drake – Kirby's gorgeous string enhancements have helped make Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter timeless classics – the affable string master continued creating wonderful arrangements long after Drake's untimely passing. Elton John, Linda Thompson, Elvis Costello, Paul Weller, The Magic Numbers and Nick Lowe are just a few of the many artists who've benefited from Kirby's rare artistry.
To honour Kirby's lasting legacy, his son Henry has put together The Robert Kirby Memorial Concert at Cecil Sharp House (2 Regents Park Road) in London starting at 1:30 pm and featuring performances by Vashti Bunyan, Teddy Thompson, Luke Jackson, Steve Ashley, Ben & Jason (who've reunited for the show), Harvey Brough & Clara Sanabras and a one-off appearance by Fab Cab, Kirby's Caius College choral group who last performed in 1967. In addition, the special guest show closer is rumoured to be Paul Weller although there has been no confirmation as yet. For tickets, check the site For more information, go to

Here in Toronto, Kirby's work will be celebrated in November as part of a Nick Drake tribute concert put together by Brit ex-pat Luke Jackson, whose critically acclaimed album ...And Then Some (Popsicle) was recorded with Kirby.
Originally planned for last November, with Kirby flying in from the UK to conduct the strings, the show was cancelled with the news of Kirby's sad passing on October 3 just a week before the concert was to be announced. So that tribute concert in honour of Nick Drake has also become a Robert Kirby tribute now rescheduled for Trinity St. Paul's on Sunday, November 28.
Performers for the evening will be Kevin Kane, Stephen Fearing, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Tom Wilson, David Celia, Emm Gryner along with Jackson and a special mystery guest all backed by a string octet led by Kevin Fox and a solid house band featuring Don Kerr, Kurt Swinghammer and Maury Lefoy. It promises to be a stellar night out with proceeds benefiting the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Tickets for the Nick Drake Tribute Night are now available through right here. You can check Jackson's site ( for more details.     

Robert Kirby interview circa 2002

This Life by Luke Jackson (in the studio with Robert Kirby)

No comments:

Post a Comment