Popular pub and folk singing stalwart MacKenzie dies at 61

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  • <B>The late Rod MacKenzie</B> is seen performing at the Bermuda Folk Club in recent years. After arriving on the Island in the 1970s he became one of the best known pub and folk singers, and even after moving to the US made return visits to Bermuda to play live. Mr MacKenzie, originally from England, has died aged 61.<B></B>

    The late Rod MacKenzie is seen performing at the Bermuda Folk Club in recent years. After arriving on the Island in the 1970s he became one of the best known pub and folk singers, and even after moving to the US made return visits to Bermuda to play live. Mr MacKenzie, originally from England, has died aged 61.


Rod MacKenzie, one of Bermuda’s most popular pub singers in the 1970s, has died in Florida at the age of 61.

A regular performer at Bermuda Folk Club, the Englishman might be best remembered for his nightly appearances at the Robin Hood where he built a strong fan base.

He also played at a number of other bars on the Island and returned to Bermuda on several occasions.

The Folk Club will hold a concert in his memory in February.

Mr MacKenzie moved to North Conway in New Hampshire and for more than a decade alternated between the two countries.

He was brought up in the north east of England, near the Guisborough Road, about which he often sang.

According to close friend, Bob Bradbury, “He never quite lost the accent and it added to a voice that was immensely rich, powerful and unique.”

Having first trained as a chemical engineer, Mr MacKenzie opted instead for a life in music.

In the mid-1970s he answered an advert in the British musical magazine Melody Maker, for “two lively folk singers wanted in Bermuda”.

This led to a contract at the Robin Hood and later to a similar ‘gig’ in North Conway.

Mr Bradbury recalled that in those early days in Bermuda Mr MacKenzie teamed up with fellow folk singers Peter Lewis, a health inspector, and Peter (Chalky) White, an ex-pat policeman, to form the MacKenzie, Lewis, White Band.

Both Mr Lewis and Mr White passed away several years ago. Mr MacKenzie and friends set up a music scholarship fund in their honour which continues to benefit the Kennet High School in North Conway.

An annual concert has taken place there since 1987 to help add to the fund.

Mr Bradbury remembered: “He had a quick-witted response to anything you could throw at him and always had a new joke to share.

“Most of all though, he could hold any audience’s attention with that wonderful voice.

“His music encompassed many genres and included some self-penned songs as well as covers. In the early days, his trademark was a 12-string Ovation guitar with chorus pedal, but later he changed to a six-string ‘because it makes me work harder’.”

Mr MacKenzie moved to Marco Island in Florida a few years back where he continued to entertain, while also performing in New Hampshire and Bermuda when the opportunities arose.

His cancer was diagnosed only a month or so before he died.

He leaves a brother, sister and a daughter.

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Published Dec 31, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm)

Popular pub and folk singing stalwart MacKenzie dies at 61

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