24 May 2021
A posthumous album Songs For The Family from Malcolm Black, ex-frontman of Netherworld Dancing Toys, is raising funds for the University of Otago’s Centre for Translational Cancer Research. Released by his family two years after his untimely death at age 58 from cancer, Songs For The Family was recorded two months before Malcolm passed away.
The Centre for Translational Cancer Research, led by Healthier Lives Deputy Director Professor Parry Guilford, aims to improve the survival and quality of life of cancer patients. Parry also led the Healthier Lives’ Biomarkers for cancer detection project which Malcolm was involved with after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“Our family are very excited to finally be able to share Malcolm’s musings on life, love and death. It has been a labour of love over the last 2 years due to the sensitivity of the project and significantly delayed by COVID, with the album being produced off shore. It has been challenging at times trying to make decisions he would have made, but I’m sure he would be very proud of the finished works”, says his wife, Julia.
Black had been diagnosed with terminal cancer 18 months earlier and once he had completed Songs For The Family, and a few weeks before his death, he talked to writer Grant Smithies about writing the songs as a process to understanding and coming to terms with death – to leave early, without fear. “I’m not afraid of dying really, in the slightest. I’ve had a good life and death comes to us all – eventually.”
Says Julia, “Malcolm was so gracious and dignified about his impending death and he was determined to normalise it for his children. Demystify it for others. He didn’t fear death. He had hope. Hope without fear. His songs are a beautiful reminder for us all. A gift.”
While there is no denying the raw intimacy of the songs and whom they were penned for, this is still a collection of songs from the heart and for the heart, which will resonate with those that have lost someone beloved. Songs For The Family is not just a gift left behind for his loved ones and any others who may be interested, it is also testament to the legacy Black leaves behind.
And in keeping with Black’s altruistic nature, all proceeds from the sale of Songs For The Family will go to the University of Otago’s Centre for Translational Cancer Research.
Explains Julia “Malcolm wanted all proceeds to go to Otago University’s Centre for Translational Cancer Research as a gesture of thanks for the incredible work they do that he was able to benefit from.”
In his final interview Black stated “Dying well is really important to me”, and for those that knew him and his noble approach to all that he took on-board throughout his life, it was no surprise that he did.
Malcolm talks about recording the album Otago Daily Times, March 2019
LISTEN / PURCHASE SONGS FOR THE FAMILY: HERE
PURCHASE 12” VINYL OR CD HERE – HERE
Photo credit: Matthew Trbuhović