Paul "Cher Shimjer" Pena
October 2, 2005
It is with great sadness that Friends of Tuva notes the passing of longtime Friend of Tuva extraordinaire Paul Pena. Paul died at home on October 1, 2005, after a long illness.
The earthquake shook us all, and we're all the better for it.
Those who knew Paul personally or only through his work and his exploits already know what an astonishing life he led. Instead of presenting his full biography here, we provide a few selected links below.
Paul rose to international attention as the central figure in the feature-length documentary "Genghis Blues", nominated for an Academy Award in 2000. In a world where life is fair, Paul would have been able to parlay this turn in the limelight into greater success in a rekindled musical career. On the contrary, despite a few steps forward (for example, the release of "New Train", and the release of the Genghis Blues CDs), Paul's life seemed to miss every potential lucky break and instead hit every pitfall imaginable. It is truly unfair that he lived the archetypical life of the bluesman of fable and fiction and that his talent and his dedication to his craft were not enough to guarantee success. All we can say is that life is obviously not fair.
To the end, Paul had some close friends that cared about him, and cared for him, and those of us who were not close to him can be thankful for that.
Seth Augustus and friends organized a memorial celebration for Paul in the San Francisco on October 23.
Memories of Paul
If you have memories of Paul that you'd like to see posted here, please email them to us and we'll be happy to include them.
Science fiction author Spider Robinson (http://www.spiderrobinson.com) writes from British Columbia:
Singer and author Pam Swan has some memories of Paul on her WWW site at http://www.pamswan.com/Paul%20Pena.htm .
For the San Francisco memorial gathering, Ralph Leighton composed and read a poem, Two Great Men.
Selected Paul Pena links: