On Friday night, May 6th, Candye Luise Kane passed away. Over the next days and weeks, much will be written, said, sung, cried and shouted about Candye and her place in the music world. People will share their personal stories and photos. There is much for us to say, but as we gather ourselves to express what sometimes cannot be adequately expressed, we, today, simply want to send condolences to Candye's two sons, Evan Caleb and Thomas Yearsley, Jr. as well as Laura Chavez, her band partner, and what for all purposes is her daughter, caretaker and friend beyond measure.
Candye's robust spirit battled her cancer and added to the veracity of her description, from her song of the same name, that she was the “Toughest Girl Alive”.
Candye was eloquent in expression of her passions, and often wrote lengthy and descriptive blogs, letters and posts. In one of her last such passionate appeals, she outreached to her fans and friends to support her dream to bring United by Music all over the world. [See “In Candye's Own Words” below ]
The United by Music connection: Candye's introduction of Joris van Wijngaarden. CEO of United by Music) to her friend, Barbara Hammerman, led to the expansion of United by Music from it's origin in The Netherlands to North America. Joris and Candye created United by Music in 2006 and Barbara and daughter, Amanda Gresham took up the invitation and challenge to bring this transformational program to the United States.
The United by Music North America family joins Candye's tens of thousands of loyal fans in celebrating her life and superb talent.
Major news media have said:
“Candye Kane has that big, brassy voice that has authority and sass; the kind of thing men like because its seductive and women like because its powerful.”
–The Washington Post
“Candye Kane, an L.A. - raised blues, swing and roots-rock performer who preached self-acceptance and whose song 'The Toughest Girl Alive' gained new meaning as she performed for years with cancer, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles”
– LA Times May 9, 2016
Clips from other quotes cause those of us who knew her to smile and nod in agreement:
* Rousing confidence and affirmation of identity
* Seriously powerful singer who lays it all on the line
* A voice that is a natural wonder
* Powerful and entertaining, smart and sassy.
* A supremely gifted vocalist
Many of you took up the challenge in Candye's words in December 2015 when she asked that her friends and fans help her to continue to build her dream to transform lives through music through a donation to United by Music North America. We thank you for those donations which, in part, enabled our artists to experience an incredible week in The Netherlands just last month, participating in the 10th Anniversary Jubilee of the founding of United by Music. We had so hoped that Candye would be with us, but this was not possible. Together, we will build more support to give more chances, more opportunities to those who deserve to have their talent soar!
But no one says it better than Candye. So here is her appeal to you, her friends and fans.
FROM CANDYE, IN HER OWN WORDS: From Candye's letter 12l12l2015 to her Friends and Fans asking for support for the wonderful artists of United by Music.
"Hello y'all,We have been having a great tour in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Just a few more shows and we will back home and snuggling in our beds.
This has been a year of close calls and near misses. Most importantly, April 2016 marks the TENTH anniversary of my beloved charity organization, United By Music! I really can't believe that it has been 10 years since I slurped mussels in Brugge, Belgium, with my darling friend and co-founder, Joris Van Wijngaarden. We shared ideas about what eventually became the first musical organisation strictly for the intellectually handicapped. This is a chance to share their talents and learn about show business and performance, many for the very first time. We shared a dream about a project featuring people with intellectual and physical disabilities - kind of like "An American Idol" for gifted and talented musicians. Never cruel or critical, UBM helps disabled musicians learn about themselves, and their strengths and weaknesses. Since that sunny April day, we have successfully brought together hundreds of "able bodied" musicians, pairing them with disabled people of all levels. Saxophonists, pianists, guitarists, harmonica players, bassists, drummers, vocalists, dancers, accordionists, costumers, stage techs,and songwriters, sharing and learning, side by side. We have become better musicians and better people from our participation with UBM - (United By Music). It has been so gratifying to see our students grow and mature into bonafide professionals. They have gained confidence and pushed themselves to the next level. They learned showmanship and flexibility and how to work successfully with others. We have recorded two CDs in the studio. We have even written and recorded our own theme songs to illustrate our musical journey and growth. We performed in Cape Town, South Africa; Belfast, Ireland; France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark; making new friends from around the globe and performing at the World Congress for Downs Syndrome. It's been a tremendous year and here we are - grateful to be alive and share magical experiences as we stretch our limits and reach for the stars!...........
…....Talk about making dreams come true! These wonderful musicians were finally accepted for who they are and what they can do. They weren't being denied a chance to participate. Rather, they were INVITED to perform and to feel that love and attention from an audience - attention, not because of the way they looked or behaved, but because of their talent and hard work. These have been life changing moments for UBM and we hope to have another 10, 15, 20 years of growth and personal power as we shatter stereotypes and overcome tremendous adversity.
Joris and I still have some unfulfilled dreams for UBM and YOU can help! ….....(North (United by Music North America) Founder-Director, Barbara Hammerman has worked diligently to afford opportunities for Pacific Northwest musicians to participate in their own branch of UBM USA. She has enlisted some of the best instrumentalists and performers in the region to start the first EVER branch of United by Music USA. We want to help these American performers to live their dreams …..We want you to be part of a life affirming quest. PLEASE help us make dreams come true! Find out how you can get involved by visiting our website at -
You can volunteer your time. You can donate money to help a deserving musician to participate. You can help a musically talented person with a disability skip to the next level. Won't you help us to help someone else? I promise you that the reward is much deeper than the quest.
I have learned so much about people with intellectual disabilities. I have learned so much about MYSELF through my involvement in this tremendous project. People who have been told NO, their entire lives, are finally hearing YES! YES -I can participate. YES - my talent matters. YES - I am worthy! please say YES today - to me, to Joris Van Wijngaarden, YES - to Leon, Simone, Albertine. Rob, Wouter, Sharon, Petra. YES - to Jessica, a blind singer from Eugene. YES to a talented singer named Frankie - and Nick, an aspiring pianist from the Pacific Northwest - Your backyard!!! I promise your money will be used to change lives and to inspire a person with a disability who desperately needs our help. Thank you in advance for your generosity and your vision.I know you will never regret it.
Big Love and Gratitude,Candye
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