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DEATH OF CHRIS PARKIN (article first published : 2004-07-29)

Chris Parkin, respected sound engineer and a familiar face on the Durban theatre scene, died on July 3 as the result of a motorbike accident.

Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he spent his early days on a farm. At school he proved to be a talented sportsman representing Rhodesian schools in cricket, playing first team rugby and rising to Rhodesian schools squash champion in 1974.

He became involved in the Zimbabwe folk music scene where he was a regular performer. While working as manager of the Archipelago night club in Harare, he was first exposed to Zaierian rumba music by the resident band. In his later life, Chris became much involved in the South African music scene with periods in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and latterly back in Durban with Sound Crew Systems to Banana Bandwagon and Oppi Koppie to Splashy Fen.

He loved everything that made up the music scene and was commited to helping and nurturing South African talent to its rightful recognition and potential. Always insistent on the highest professional standards in his sound engineering work, he worked hard at what he did and derived great satisfaction when he achieved his objectives.

“Restless and exacting, his style behind the sound desk was all his own,” writes columnist Gisele Turner in The Daily News Tonight. “He hardly left the desk alone; his keen ears fed his keen fingers and he watched everything like a hawk. He was critical to a degree; seldom satisfied with the quality of sound he heard and always very clear on the reasons why things were Not Perfect.”

Neil Comfort, joint owner of the Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club, acknowledges that Chris Parkin’s death is a tragic loss for the Durban and South African music scenes. “It was whilst working for Soundcrew Systems that I first worked a gig at the Rainbow back in 1996 under the Rainbat project. A music project driven by Chris' love for quality Southern African music. Working those concerts certainly fired my passion for live original music and ultimately led me to jumping at the opportunity to take up the reins at the Rainbow in 2001.

“In recent years, much has been written about the many fine musicians that have left us to join the Big Band in the Sky. Now they have a sound engineer that is as passionate about their music as they are. Farewell friend and thanks for the music, the passion and the lessons learnt.”




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