Monday, September 19, 2016

Gilli Smyth RIP

Gillian Mary Smyth, 1933—2016

She was best known for her "space whisper" contributions to Gong, but there was a lot more to Gilli than that. She was a few years older than Daevid Allen and already teaching at the Sorbonne when he met her in Paris in the mid-60s. Her highly intelligent fusion of pagan, mystical, political and feminist themes always endeared her to me, and I'm glad I got to see her play with Gong twice (the almost-classic lineup with Steve Hillage here in Canterbury in summer 2009, and on the "99% Tour" in 2012 in Brighton, when she already looking quite frail, but totally committed and getting the biggest cheer of all that night when she appeared on stage).

The middle hour of the latest episode of my Canterbury Sans Frontiéres podcast is a tribute mix I put together for her, starting with her Goddess invocation from Glastonbury '92, heard here leading into the mighty Om Riff:

As one correspondent put it, "May The Good Witch sleep peacefully forever within the earth. RIP Gilli Smyth".


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