R.I.P. Gong's Gilli Smyth
Published Aug 24, 2016Gilli Smyth, vocalist and co-founder of psychedelic rock force Gong, has died, the band have confirmed. The musician had been battling pulmonary pneumonia, but passed away Monday (August 22). She was 83 years old.
News of the psych and space rock singer's ill-health was revealed by her son, Orlando Allen, over Facebook, where he confirmed that his mother had been brought to the ICU of Byron Bay Hospital in Australia. She had been battling illness for a long time, with it being added that there was blood in her lungs by the time she reached the hospital. After being given a 30 percent survival, she passed away under doctor's care.
"Her unique stage presence and vocals manifested and determinedly represented a vital, deeply fundamental feminine principle within the Gong universe," the surviving members of Gong posted on their website. "We will miss her. Love to the Good Witch and all who feel her loss."
Born in the UK in 1933, Smyth received three degrees from London University's Kings College, where she partook in musical and theatrical performances, before moving to Paris in the late '60s. There, she met up with Daevid Allen and formed Gong.
Sometimes performing under the name "Shakti Yoni," she contributed vocals, poems and "space whispers" to the psych band's catalogue. She recorded a number of albums with the group, but left following the release of 1974's You. She'd go on to release 1978 solo album Mother, leading to the formation of Mother Gong, who released a number of albums of their own.
In 1994, she rejoined Gong and would go on to play several shows with the band; her last performance with the group she co-founded in the '60s was in 2012.
Smyth's career saw her releasing joint albums with Allen, performing as part of the Acid Mothers Gong project with members of Acid Mothers Temple, and making dance-geared material under the name of Goddess Trance. Her last solo album was 2012's Paradise.
Smyth's Gong co-founder, Daevid Allen, passed away in 2015 following his battle with cancer.