Keishi Shikata remembered

Vassar Clements, Buddy Spicher, Keishi ShikataLast week we told you about the premature death of Keishi Shikata.

Earlier today I received a touching tribute from renowned mandolin player Mike Compton, a friend of Shikata’s for 30 years.‚Ķ.

“I knew Keishi since the late 1970’s. He was always cheerful and complimentary, though he did understand the art of pulling one’s leg. I always had the feeling that he was a good businessman due to the many things he was involved in. I used to tease him about being an old bachelor and being too fat to get married, at which point he would be sure to mention how fat we both were. Keishi was more boisterous than most Japanese people I’ve met. He seemed to have acquired a less-reserved American character about him.

I was in Japan the last couple years around Xmas working for Kaz Inaba. Both times, who would I run into but Keishi. We laughed and said that we both live in Nashville, but had to go to Japan to see each other. One night Keishi rode the bullet train for two hours to see us play, only to find out that he had the wrong date. He had to ride the two hour trip back without seeing us. He sounded very frustrated on the phone, but I got the impression that he was ready to do it again if he thought he could catch up with us.

Knowing Keishi is gone is a little unsettling because he has been part of my circle of friends for the last 30 years. I miss him already.”

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.