‘Minnesota Minstrel’ Jerry Rau, who brought folk music to street corners, coffeehouses, clubs, dies at 83

2021-11-29 19:12:55 –

In 1965, Jerry Lau was dispatched to fight in Vietnam. He is back as a guitar player with a passion for telling stories.

For over 40 years, Minneapolis folk singers have played in streets, coffee shops, clubs, and many nursing homes in Minnesota and across the country.

“His legacy lies in his music,” said longtime friend Jana Metge. Lau, who suffered from prostate cancer and dementia, was 83 years old when he died in West St. Paul on October 15.

Raised in Minneapolis, Lau joined the reserve at the age of 18, joined the Marine Corps two years later, and eventually landed in Vietnam. So he picked up an old guitar and played it many times in the sound of war to learn “the house of the rising sun.”

“It’s hard to explain the war to anyone,” he said. Minneapolis Interview Project — Editing the oral history of those who worked for social justice. “My friend was killed …. it doesn’t go away. Every night in Vietnam was a horror show.”

Those experiences found their way in his songs and led him to be one of the founders of the Peace Activist and the Veterans Branch for Local Peace.

“Jerry has become a warrior in the fight to end the war,” said longtime friend Ron Garmandson. He said his songs often spoke of the harsh reality of what it would take to become a soldier during the war.

Returning to Minneapolis, he drove a taxi, but hated it, Lau explained in an interview project.

“I decided to see if I could make cash playing the guitar.” My wife hated it, “he said.

However, Lau followed his bliss and became a folk singer, Garmandson said. He soon became known as the “Minnesota Minstrel”.

“He wasn’t a flashy musician, but he had a soul,” said Bill Staines, a longtime friend and fellow folk musician.

But not everyone is crazy about his career choices.

Lau’s youngest son, John, often heard derogatory tones when his relatives asked, “Is your dad still playing the guitar?” The tacit question was, “Why isn’t he doing more in his life?” John recalled.

However, when he visited his father in Minnesota, John Law, who grew up in Hawaii and continues to live in Hawaii, realized that being a musician was exactly what he wanted to do in his life.

“He wasn’t the man who was looking for fame and wealth,” said John Law. “He was the most real person he could.”

Unlike his sister and brother, Jon Rauch was four years old when his parents divorced, so his relationship with his father wasn’t that complicated. It was too young to remember his father as a Marine who had just returned from the war, or as a cataclysm for a split family. ..

Instead, he truly remembers spending the summer with his father at the age of nine and deepening his ties in baseball. This is a game in which a father learned to love after first seeing it in his son’s eyes. Jon Rauch’s visit also took a peek at his father’s close musician community.

Dennis Blouse was a 16-year-old violinist when she became part of the community and joined Jerry Lau’s band in 2000.

“My mother was a big fan of Jerry’s music,” she said. “I listened to all his CDs that my mom had.

“He left us such a gift,” Blouse said. “He will continue to live in his music and the story he left behind.”

Besides his son John, he is surviving by Dallas’ daughter Joan Dymond. San Francisco’s son James. 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. The service was held.

‘Minnesota Minstrel’ Jerry Rau, who brought folk music to street corners, coffeehouses, clubs, dies at 83 Source link ‘Minnesota Minstrel’ Jerry Rau, who brought folk music to street corners, coffeehouses, clubs, dies at 83

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