I've heard bits of news that Warren Argo, founding member of the legendary Gypsy Gyppo String Band, amazing old-time musician, and a tremendously inspiring human being in so many ways, has passed away.
When he was on staff, the whole event became very very special. I remember first meeting him on the second floor of the schoolhouse at Fiddle Tunes in Fort Worden. I wanted to get a line out from the board to my tape recorder so I could record the contradances taking place there. Warren was doing sound and, although very busy, graciously hooked me up.
He was also my all-time favorite dance caller, something for which he has, in my view, not been sufficiently recognized. Many dancers have many different standards for what constitutes a magical dance evening. For me, I want flow, I want my joints to not hurt in the following days, and I want the constant organic high of a gentle dizziness maintained through the entire evening. Warren was matchless in achieving this in his dance calling.
I grew to love the guy over the years. His rendition of Uncle Dave Macon songs like "Wait Till the Clouds Roll By" remain with me to this day and still make me tear up. His occasional gruffness was cover for an extraordinarily sensitive and kind human being. I remember asking him once if he would record again. He said he wasn't interested in that kind of stuff. I told him that I had asked not because I thought he should achieve fame and fortune in this way, but simply because I cherished his music making and wanted the opportunity to share it with others.
He was a great person, an oversized personality with amazing charisma who was always in touch with his own humanity. I hope he knew how widely and deeply he was loved by those around him. I will miss him.