November 5, 1954 – August 5, 2012
Randy Mead died unexpectedly on Sunday August 5, 2012, from a massive coronary event in his home near Slocan Lake in Eastern British Columbia. He was most widely known as an extraordinary flutist, multi-instrumentalist and recording artist, as well as a film and film-score producer. He was a close friend and music partner to David Michael for 39 years and the two of them played in numerous ensembles. As a duo, they composed, produced and published nine CD albums: Petals in the Stream, Spirit Rising, Keystone Passage, Courtship of the Moon, Magic Carpet, Mountain in the Sky, Music World, Hidden Worlds and Heartscape. Randy also produced a solo flute album Ascending Spiral.
Randy and David played in bands together in Olympia between 1973-1975: Phrog City Kroakers and Rainbow Alley. In Seattle, they formed the eclectic band Wind in 1975, which performed in the Seattle area until 1979, and they also performed in a belly-dance troupe Caravanserai. Randy composed for and performed with the world fusion ensemble Ancient Future between 1982 and 1986.
Randy was also an inventor of musical instruments that employed ancient tuning systems and a pioneer of world fusion music, augmenting his classical training. He earned a B.A. in music from The Evergreen State College and an M.A. in Arts and Media Technology from Antioch University West. He worked as a school band instructor—mastering virtually every wind instrument in the process—and also as an instrument repairman.
He was a session player for countless albums and film scores and a sound engineer himself—engineering dozens of albums for others. With his wife Hope, he also co-produced the award-winning film Orbs - The Veil is Lifting. He also composed scores for The Learning Channel and network TV soap operas. He and David created the score for the Noblet Productions nature film: Four Seasons of Western Washington which offers occasional glimpses of the musicians’ hands performing the sound track superimposed over the footage. It was one of their most notable artistic accomplishments, demonstrating the deep connection between music and nature.
Randy grew up in Marin County, CA and lived in Olympia and Seattle, WA before returning the San Francisco Bay area where he lived through the 80’s. In 1991, he moved to Colville, WA for a rural life. Those who knew Randy knew him as so much more than a great musician. He built a straw-bale house by hand and kept farm animals and numerous exotic pets. He was a big-hearted man, friend and mentor to many, who was never afraid to try something new. In 2010, he moved to a large farm in Slocan, BC and with his family created a cultural center, Greensong Sanctuary for the Arts.
Randy has been somewhat memorialized in David Michael’s memoir: BUSKER – Tales of a Renegade Harpist. He is the main character in the book other than the author himself. There are many amusing and inspiring anecdotes about his life within those pages. Randy’s joy of life was infectious and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.