Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Ronnie Ronalde: an amazing performer

I've written a couple of times over the years about Ronnie Ronalde (here and here). He was a most unusual artist, a singer and performer, but most of all, a siffleur, which is just a fancy word for a person who whistles. 

Well, you'd think that whistling was hardly anything to write home about, but so popular was Ronnie that on one occasion he filled Radio City Hall in New York every night for ten weeks (it holds 6,000 people). He toured extensively, and even gave two performances at the Aotea Centre in 1990 (when he was in his late sixties) and filled the place both times. At one time he was as popular as Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. 

Ronnie died just last month at the age of 91 - I only heard about it this morning. He was from Islington in London, originally, but by the time he'd finished his life he'd lived in Guernsey, the Isle of Man, New Zealand, and the Gold Coast. 

Whistling isn't as popular as it used to be - I don't hear many kids whistling these days. But Ronnie made it such a hit that his records would be broadcast week in and week out when I was a kid. The fact that he remained popular for so long is testament to the enjoyment he brought to people. 
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