Just saw this on my email from another CMN member-thought some of you might know her and want to know...
Blues singer killed in weekend crash
Virginia Clemmens performed with musical legends on Mainland
By Valerie Monson, Staff Writer
MAKAWAO - Maui music lovers were devastated Monday when they
learned that Virginia "Ginni" Clemmens, a Makawao blues singer who once
shared the stage with such legends as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, had
been identified as the victim of a fatal car accident on the Pukalani bypass Saturday.
"She's really one of the treasures of the island, yet so few people really knew about her," said Bill Best, who was playing an assortment of Clemmens' songs during a tribute to her on Mana'o Radio.
Clemmens, 66, died at the scene of the accident that occurred
when her car was struck broadside by a Jeep as she tried to cross the
bypass at Makani Road. Police said Clemmens failed to yield the
As a singer on the Mainland, Clemmens was billed alongside Seeger, Dylan, John Prine and Bill Cosby. After she taught the late Mama Cass Elliott one of her favorite tunes, "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues," Elliott recorded it.
Heralded as one of the founding mothers of the women's music
movement, Clemmens made her mark on the national folk-blues scene while she was in Chicago. Once on Maui, she didn't perform as much, and, when she did, it was low-key. She wasn't one to boast of her past
connections to the stars.
"For a long time, I only had one 45 of hers," said Best. "After much coaxing, she sent me an album of songs that were inspired by living
on Maui, 'Underneath Hawaiian Skies.'" Clemmens produced the album in celebration of her 65th birthday, according to a Web site where a reviewer described one of the selections, "Broken Open," as "one of the most beautiful love songs ever written."
Maui musician Fulton Tashombe, a longtime friend, said he had
recently taught Clemmens the new technology of recording digitally with
computers. Tashombe said he last saw Clemmens only a few days ago in
the parking lot at the Pukalani Terrace Shopping Center, where they
spent an hour talking music. "She always had a sparkle, she always had a song," said Tashombe. "Ginni had a way of making things uplifting."
Clemmens was also doing her part for the peace movement. She
rewrote the pledge of allegiance with a more international point of view
and posted it on the Internet.
"I pledge allegiance to the health of the United World of the
Universe," she wrote, "and to the Earth on which we stand, one planet
born of love, indivisible, with rights and responsibilities for all."
Laura Civitello, another deejay on Mana'o Radio, called Clemmens
"an extra special human being" who wasn't afraid to question the status
quo and stand up for her beliefs.
"She was a pretty radical lady in a gentle way," said Civitello.
No details about services have been released.
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