Very sad news today, the passing of Charlie Gillett, a wonderfully warm DJ and great music lover – or perhaps just lover of great music.
Because that was the special thing about Charlie Gillett, the fact that he really seemed to enjoy the music he played. His wide ranging taste for culture crossing tunes was based on the fact that he just loved good music.
He started out, as most of us know, as a regular DJ, playing the music that he knew and loved – rock and roll. But during the late 1970s he began to be exposed to African music, and without even having much knowledge of it, managed to start playing a wide selection of world music records on his radio shows.
It didnt take him long to become an authority though, and I was always impressed by his apparently encyclopaedic knowledge which informed the links on his shows.
He wasnt a text-book DJ, not a smooth talker or witty one line dropper, rather he conversed, with warmth, passion, and enthusiasm, with his guests and his listeners. His shows were all the more charming and wonderful for that.
So my sympathies are with his family and friends, and I hope for the rest of us that we shall see his like again, but I doubt it.
The World Service have been playing some of his archived ‘World Music Classics’ shows, which are always worth a ‘listen again’.