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 Obituary: David Hewitt

Obituary: David Hewitt by Des Lindberg 29 December 2001

David Hewitt died at the age of 54 in KwaZulu-Natal.
Wendy & Dave Hewitt (RIP) with Tessa Ziegler
Wendy & Dave Hewitt (RIP) with Tessa Ziegler - At the recent Guitars for Africa Fund Raising concert.
He was an exceptionally accomplished Classical Guitarist, arranger, teacher and composer, who leaves an inspiring volume of his own original guitar music, and fond and abiding memories of a strong and lyrical man of music. A music player and a music maker of extraordinary creative ability. His colleagues and friends send his wife Wendy much love and admiration for the long battle she fought together with David during his illness.

David Hewitt, like so many musos of his time, started his musical career as a rock guitarist. He loved to tell the story of how he pitched for his first lesson with Classical Guitar Maestro Fritz Buss carrying an electric guitar. Fritz easily succeeded in turning David on to the magic of nylon acoustic guitar music, and was David's teacher for many years. But David never lost his ear for the organic, African lyrical sound, and eventually contributed many beautiful songs on his two African albums released by David Gresham {'African Tapestry' in 1989 & 'The Storyteller' in 1990 - ed}. He revelled, too, in his collaboration with the East Rand's Holy Jerusalem Choir, as they breathed vibrant choral life into the lyrics.

He was Tessa Ziegler's long time partner, and together they became South Africa's number one Classical Guitar Duo. Tessa always includes David's compositions in her solo recitals, and on her records, especially the powerful "Sunrise", and "Wendy", written as a love-song for his wife.

From our personal perspective, Dave was a fun-loving, humorous and intensely musical person whom we are proud to have worked with and called a friend. Dawn and I have a vivid memory of the night David got up on the stage of the Johannesburg Civic Theatre in a the first concert called "Guitars for Africa" and, having dazzled the audience with some classical pieces, launched into a stunning version of 'Lady in Red' which he played and sung himself, in a voice none of us knew he possessed! Unforgettable versatility, which his arranger for his African Albums, Adolpho Weizman, recognised and explored to the full in those arrangements. The assured sound of Dave's strong classical style soared out front of the orchestral settings, and confidently wove the solo lines of his remarkable compositions. He added real quality to the volume of South African Guitar Compositions which will, we hope, be played by generations of guitarists to come.

In the studio Dave was meticulous and inventive, and a pleasure to record. On tour with corporate clients, he was fun to be with, and focused on his talent and his performances, which he always took seriously. We shared festivals, soirees, cabarets, promotions, launches, and friendship with equal enjoyment.

With the terrifying early onslaught of Altzheimers Disease, Dave refused to capitulate. He knew his memory was failing him with ever increasing frequency, yet he bravely battled the debilitating symptoms. At last he was unable to play, or express or articulate his appreciation of excellence, but still continued to enjoy other guitarists concerts. One of our last memories of Dave was his glowing joy at his benefit concerts held recently at the Linder Auditorium, where South Africa's Guitar greats assembled en masse to play and raise funds for some of his medical needs.

We shall all miss you, Dave. We shall remember you with fondness and admiration, and we shall play your records often. Every time we see a "Sunrise" over "Igoli", we shall salute you.

We wish Wendy present comfort in his merciful release from cruel frailty, and in years to come, happy memories of David on top of his game - making his beautiful music.

Des Lindberg
Courtesy www.Powerzone.co.za

more information:

{David Hewitt's 'African Awakening - The Best Of' is available from One World - ed}

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