Today I learned Toot Thielemans (I always thought it was Tut Stilmans! 😀 ) died last August — 94 years old of whistling and playing his harmonica! He was BelgiAN, from BelgiUM, where you can find the best beer and chocolate in the world!!
This piece of news brings me that kind of emptiness the death of people whose work you have enjoyed brings. He was and IS a musician who played an instrument almost nobody plays, the harmonica. Actually, when I was a little girl and even when I was a teenager I remember people sang (particularly mothers while doing the housework) and there was always someone bringing a guitar or harmonica to gatherings. Perhaps people keep doing it today, but I haven’t seen that for years. I have the feeling industry has sucked music out of people’s everyday lives! But I’m old and might be just in a different stage of life! Anyway, in case you never heard this musician, here goes a tune he actually composed. You might have heard him in movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or well, he played versions of all kinds of jazz and blues songs and tunes.
I heard him for the first time on the radio, in the wee hours of the night, in an attic with no electricity, no water, no kitchen, no toilet! (there was a toilet in the corridor, comunal it was). I couldn’t sleep because it was always freezing cold! So I listened to the radio, jazz program(me)s mainly. In spite of poverty, I loved these moments. I had left my mum’s house and found a job teaching English, so I could earn a living. I was also trying to keep up with courses at college/university. In those days, people didn’t leave their parents house either, at least not my generation, so it felt like having a lot of freedom! And music and freedom sort of reinforce each other to give you great happiness. So here goes this memory to hono(u)r Toot Thielemans life and work! ❤