Writer, Singer, Broadcaster, Ethnomusicologist and Lecturer Jan Fairley sadly passed away on the 9th of June. She worked alongside WMN since the very first Riverboat albums 20 years ago and always supported WMN’s label with enthusiasm. With her extensive knowledge on Spanish and Latin American music, she compiled The Rough Guide to Flamenco and The Rough Guide to Flamenco Dance, and wrote numerous reviews and features for WMN’s albums. She helped arrange a trip to Chile for WMN’s director Phil Stanton in 1992, and enabled for him to meet Joan Jara, Victor Jara’s widow. The late Chilean folk singer and political activist was killed during the Pinochet regime.
Apart from her contribution to WMN, Jan Fairley wrote for several organisations such as fRoots, Songlines, The Scotsman, and Rough Guides. Over the years, she interviewed international stars such as Youssou N’Dour, Papa Wemba, Miriam Makeba, Cesaria Evora, Omara Portuondo, and Taraf De Haidouks.
Treatment for cancer in 2004 appeared successful, but the “hard little buggers” -as she called it herself in her blog- suddenly returned this year. She passed away at 63.