It is with deep sadness that I write of Simeon Levi’s passing away on the morning of Thursday 26th March 2015, after a long battle with cancer.
I first met Simeon back in 2010 when I was part of Adrian’s Wall Soundsystem in High Wycombe. Sim (as we called her) became a regular at the monthly soundsystem night we had at the Hobgoblin in High Wycombe. She was a friendly and outgoing person and we quickly got talking about our love of music. She had a real passion for reggae and it transpired she had recorded some tracks in 2009 with producer Rodney Culture at Groovespot Studios (West London) as well as having done live performances over the years in the UK and abroad.
As a producer, I was impressed with her voice and felt she had a lot of potential. After relocating to London in 2011 I set up the studio again and we recorded a string of vocal tracks with the intention of releasing a showcase album. The first track we recorded was “Unity” on the “In Love with a Dreadlocks” riddim. She had previously sent me a demo vocal for this back in July 2011, but when we laid the vocal down in the studio in August she sounded better than I could have hoped for.
Even when she wasn’t recording, she was continuously coming up with new lyrics, sometimes to existing riddims but other times without any music in mind. She was extremely creative and had a very unique style of both lyric and delivery. Her positive and uplifting words were simply an extension of her own wonderful warm personality.
Simeon Levi in Gambia
She continued the regular studio visits and recorded the vocal for “Who Is Rastafari” in September 2011 and “Empress Militant”, “Fullness of Time” and “Silazih Alowkim” in November.
In the new year (2012) we both agreed on releasing “Unity” as a 12” single, so I re-mixed it on my new 24 channel desk. Along with Empress Antonia’s “Roots Woman”, this became the debut release on Righteous Works RW001.
Crucial Steve presenting Simeon Levi with the test-press to “Unity”.
Towards the end of 2012 we recorded the final vocal take for another track “I Am That I Am”. Unfortunately, Simeon’s health began to further deteriorate after this, and so this became our last recording session. We continued to stay in touch and I sent her some of my instrumental tracks, but music began to take a back seat due to her health and my family life.
Despite her health, Simeon was still keen to record more tracks and bought a small home recording setup in 2014 with the hope of voicing some tunes, but, as far as I am aware, this never transpired. We last met at the beginning of 2015 when sadly she knew she didn’t have much longer left. We discussed releasing another track and both settled on “Who Is Rastafari”. I re-mixed the track and prepared it for pressing to 12”. Simeon heard the final mix and was very happy with it and so I got the pressing process underway. We also discussed releasing the other tracks as part of the showcase album that we originally intended to put out but never got round to it.
Simeon Levi in 2013 with Crucial Kaya
Regretfully, Sim didn’t see the release of “Who is Rastafari” on 12” (due out mid-2015) but she gave me excellent feedback on hearing the studio recordings. Even to the last, she was always patient and positive. I feel proud and privileged to have worked with such a talented artist and beautiful person. Her final words on the release, below, were heart warming. Rest easy now Simeon Levi.
Thank you my humble bredrin, you made my day close with sunshine and lifted my heart.
One Perfect Love in JAH, Rastafari
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