We said goodbye to Richard Laviolette today.
Richard was in touch with a deep magic, a deep, brave, river of song. He was a beautiful, kind, funny person. I don’t separate those things. He was my friend.
Richard was the first artist we worked with at YC, outside of our immediate founding circle. I had played shows a few times with Richard and loved his “A Little Less Like A Rock…” CD. It was beautiful and mysterious and intimate, in its hand sewn sleeve, its depiction of ants and universes and neighbourhoods and alphabets. When he gave me a CDR of All Of Your Raw Materials at a house show in Guelph, I loved it instantly. This is a defining album for me, a lesson in love and courage and community. It is an album for life.
Everything I can think to say today about love and loss and the way to celebrate life through music, Richard has said in one of his songs. They burst with life and mortality, with guts and glory, with love, justice, honesty, and a beautiful mischief. These songs were expressions of the particularities of Richard’s life and his voice, and they were songs that found embodiment in that particular body, and in his voice, but they always, magically, transcended these specifics. It’s been beautiful to hear his songs picked up by other voices. At the tribute show in Guelph last week Cormac thanked Richard for sharing his living with us and for sharing his dying with us. This is a profound gift.
Thank you for sharing your songs with us Richard, thank you for your voice. Thank you for your joy and your grace. Thank you for your friendship.
We had the great honour of releasing two of Richard’s albums on YC, All Of Your Raw Materials in 2010 and Taking The Long Way Home in 2017. There is another, final record forthcoming, a last record Richard worked to complete in these past months: All Wild Things Are Shy. Much of Richards other work has recently been uploaded to his Bandcamp Page. Hollow Hooves, Soundtrack To The Life of A Car, A Little Less Like A Rock A Little More Like A Home, and more. Here’s the link.
Our love to all who loved him. Sing loud. Sing together. That’s how we do it, i think, that’s how we can do it.
We love you Ricky.
“Following the onset of Huntington’s Disease symptoms this past fall and their rapid worsening since May, Richard chose to receive MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying), and he died peacefully this evening on September 5.”
Photograph by Colin Medley.