Low – In Concert – Pitchfork Music Festival – 2022 – Past Daily Soundbooth: Tribute Edition (RIP: Mimi Parker)

Low - live at Pitchfork Music Festival 2022
Low – Mimi Parker was the soul, lynchpin and inspiration of the band.

Low – In Concert at Pitchfork Music Festival – 2022 – July 16, 2022 – Festival broadcast.

Low in concert tonight. With the passing of percussionist and co-founder Mimi Parker, who died after a long battle with Cancer, the sad news has made the world a bit more empty and a bit less hopeful than it was even a month ago.

Parker, who formed Low with her husband Alan Sparhawk in 1993, died from ovarian cancer.

The band shared the news on social media. “Friends, it’s hard to put the universe into language and into a short message, but Mimi passed away last night, surrounded by family and love, including yours. Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is indeed the most important thing.”

The news follows the cancellation of a string of live shows due to concerns related to Parker’s health. After a diagnosis in late 2020, Parker began treatment for ovarian cancer in 2021, and publicly revealed her health status in a podcast interview at the start of 2022.

Mimi Parker was born in 1967 and grew up in a small town outside of Bemidji, Minnesota. She began experimenting with music from a young age, coming up with harmonies to complement her sister’s guitar and leads. The pair sang along to the old country and gospel records introduced to them by their parents.

During this time, Parker found music to be “a solace, a place of escape,” she later told Stereogum. She also played percussion in a concert band and a marching band at high school.

Parker met future bandmate and husband Alan Sparhawk at primary school, before they formed Low in 1993, with bassist John Nichols. Initially she played a modest drum kit composed of just a snare, cymbal and floor tom, and used brushes instead of drumsticks. The band’s debut album, I Could Live in Hope, was released in 1994, and later included in Pitchfork’s 1999 list of the best albums of the 1990s.

Across their 29-year career, Low have put out 13 full-length studio albums. While maintaining a distinct sonic identity, the band have weaved in different styles across their discography. Their 1999 EP ‘Christmas’ is one of the most beloved indie-rock takes on festive music, and brought the band to further attention when it was featured on an advert for Gap clothing.

Their two most recent LPs, Double Negative and Hey What, released by Sub Pop in 2018 and 2021 respectively, saw the band make further forays into electronic music and digital manipulation, something that was trialed on the 1999 record Secret Name, and were hailed as a magnificent career reinvention.

In case you missed it, here is probably one of the last concerts by Low that Mimi Parker participated in; Pitchfork Music Festival – July 16, 2022.

A reminder and a fond remembrance of an extraordinary talent.

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