Photo by D.L. Anderson
Letha Rodman Melchior and Dan Melchior, at home in Durham in 2012
Durham painter and musician Letha Rodman Melchior died last night, following a four-year battle with cancer.
She was 55.
On his personal Facebook page, Dan Melchior, Letha’s husband, wrote, “My darling Letha passed away tonight at approximately 9.05. Obviously, I am heartbroken, as I'm sure many others will be. She was the best.”
Letha played bass in her husband’s band, Und Das Menace, and made her own music, often under the name Tretetam. Respected around the world for wildly diverse and experimental brand of rock, the British-born Dan Melchior settled in Durham eight years ago, living and working side-by-side with Letha and Glen, the couple's beloved parakeet.
Letha was diagnosed with melanoma in December 2010. A month later, she found out that she also had breast cancer. Support for the Melchiors flowed in freely after that, with benefit concerts held in several spots across the country, including several local shows. Both she and Dan remained remarkably upbeat and active throughout their struggle. She continued to paint and record experimental music, while detailing the experience on Letha's Happy Hospital Funtime Blog!
Her last record, Shimmering Ghost,
arrives next week via Siltbreeze
. “Edymion Mwcie,” the lead single that very much invokes that titular image, is streaming below.
Letha also recently contributed to a special performance with the Little Black Egg Band
, a one-off project including all three members of Yo La Tengo, at the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh. Her pre-recorded material was manipulated live onstage and incorporated into a sprawling pscyh-rock jam.
Melchior had recently taken a turn for the worse and was admitted into hospice care only yesterday afternoon. Dan offered the following remembrance on Letha’s blog this morning: “She fought right up until the end. She was the bravest, most alive person I ever knew. I love you Leth.”
You can sign a petition that Letha Rodman Melchior started in order to urge hospitals to serve healthier food here
. You can also listen to the Little Black Egg Band show here
and listen to a Melchior sampler at Wondering Sound.