Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kamau Seitu passed away Nov. 28, 2009

I just finished speaking to Taiwo Seitu-Kujichagulia about a disturbing email I just received about her father. Funny I just emailed him an invitation to my going away party and now he is gone too. Al Young's poem "Away" comes to mind. Does anyone or anything really go away?

We were discussing this at Andrea Lewis's memorial last week and concluded that everything here has always been here, even if we can't recall it. With this in mind, Kamau is not away, he is still here, able to feast on life without pain and suffering which he was experiencing prior to his transition.

This said, I still miss him.

I'd seen his daughter Taiwo and grandchildren, son-in-laws, brother and friends just last week. In fact I'd planned to go see him after I left the Diamano Coura event this afternoon to talk more about Africa.

I wondered why we weren't having the fundraiser this weekend as planned for alternative therapies for him. Taiwo said the tumor had wrapped itself around her father's intestine and was making it so he couldn't digest food or something, so the surgeons did a bi-pass operation Wednesday and Kamau got sicker with an infection related to the operation soon after, and died yesterday from pneumonia.

I'm like floored right now...and can't rise. My heart hurts. Kamau was my good friend, he was always honest and shared lots of big brother wisdom with me about this walk I am on.

He drummed last October at reception for the Maafa Exhibit for Casper Banjo and Joy Holland at Prescott Joseph. I wish I'd been able to attend the memorial he hosted for Elsie Washington just a month or so ago, but I had to work. He made it past his birthday, but not much past that date, Nov. 14. How old was Kamau, 66-67 this year?

He spoke about a book on Bay Area musicians he was working on that a friend of his was going to collaborate with him and write it. I hope that still happens. Kamau was organized so I'm sure it still can happen. I loved reading the titles in his collection, especially all the Downbeat Magazines he owned...I'm talking collector's issues and the books on drummers...classic as well.

We'd talk about the New Orleans drumming tradition and I have to find my interview with Kamau when I first started my project years ago to transcribe and share with friends.


At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Zigi said...

we're still in disbelief...and heartbroken. Raymond had just answered a call to MC a tribute/fundraiser for Kamau while he's with us--supposed to happen in a couple of weeks time, and now we hear he's gone...from this world...I'm glad I got a good hug with you Wanda at Andrea's memorial, and I'm so sorry for this loss of your dear friend, one of our musician/poet tribe...we have to hold on to each other tight right now. Love you, -Zigi

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kamau leaves us a rich legacy of history, performances, children, grandchildren, and love of community! I, too, am stunned because it takes your breath away when you hear of the passing of a loved one. My condolences to his family.
We will all remember Kamau for the music, history lessons, support, and love. Always. ~Ava

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what to say to news like that. Questions like how and why don't seem to promise much relief from the reality. Kamau was one of the first musicians I worked with when I got here and I shared many bandstands with him, we spent a lot time talking about music, blackness, politics, and everthing else that mattered - Kamau was like that. I can't remember ever having a trivial conversation with him.  Like a lot people who have heard and who will hear about his passing I can't see through the heartbreak that cuts this deep. Peace to his family, peace to his spirit that was always willing to share itself with grace and music. / Ollen Erich Hunt

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry to read this news about Tawio's father. We were honored to include Tawio as one of Friend's of Negro Spirituals Negro Spirituals Honorees in July of 2009 I recall him playing for Tawio in her presention. They were all so happy for her. Our thoughts and concerns are with the family.
Lyvonne Chrisman
Friends of Negro Spirituals

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanda,I am feeling at such a loss! I had thought that I would go visit Kamau after he got better from the surgery. We talked the day before he was admitted to the hospital and he was so hopeful. I really love that man, he's a good brotherfriend to me, a dedicated father and grand father conversationalist and listened patiently as well. He is intuitive, kind, passionate, talented, dedicated to his art, great sense of humor, and so much more. Over the 30 years I have known him, he always responded when I called and made hisself available to support the political and cultural communities. He believed in freeing our political prisoners and came out for Mumia Abu Jamal and others. I will miss his bodily manifestation, but will pour libation for him often and carry him with me always.


Post a Comment

<< Home