January 15, 2010

TEB viola player Ben Cartland died on April 2007...

TEB viola player Ben Cartland with the band on very first sessions recorded as The Balkan Ensemble and the first "Alchemy" recordings is passed away on past April 2007. He was living in the Northamptonshire where, in the last two years, was playing avantguarde music with Northamptonshire Composers Association (one of the composition is the instrumental "Englefolk" available at the association MySpace page - http://www.myspace.com/northantscomposers).

I've asked to Mark Beaumont, chair of the association, a short testimony: "I knew Ben for some two years and he partly inspired the Association. Ben did a multitude of different things with his life as his 'archives' reveal. He talked about many of them and not others. Research into Third Ear Band suggests to me that that is Ben. He was certainally involved in a band at about this time. Someone also made a similar enquiry about a year ago. So while I cannot confirm there seems a very good chance that he was the same person. So elusive was he that even his mother who I am in contact with probably wouldn't know, but will ask around...".

On Northamptonshire Composers Web site (http://www.northamptonshirecomposers.org.uk/history.html) the same Beaumont writes: "(...) By March 2007 we had started a mentoring programme with Nelson Oenga of Luton Business & Computing College, to develop our skills in working as a team to organise future events. Our ‘pilot’ event to be organised in this way was a concert forming part of the Northampton Carnival entertainments with its musical theme Northampton Meets New Orleans. The concert was scheduled to the afternoon of Sunday 10th June. About six weeks before the Carnival Concert, Ben Cartland died in hospital. As a very active composer and Association member during its first year, the event was dedicated to his memory and his ‘Kenya Medley’ was performed".

Very strangely, on July 17th, 2005 - as from the fogs of past - he appeared one day to me writing to my old Web site after the reading of a piece on the projected "The Dragon Wakes" album.

He wrote: "It was fascinating finding/reading your article on the Net. Some info, expecially concerning the early years (well, years when I was considerably involved in the band) seems to strike my memory, which has also dimmed over the years concerning all details, as not quite accurate. Not that it matters anyway. It was tragic to hear about Paul's death - he and I made a lot of music together (before Richard Coff appeared on the scene) and I'll always remember him (his musical sensitivity) with respect and affection. It's very good the compilation's dedicated to his memory. Well, just thought I'd send this... don't expect a reply but feel free to do so if you wish. 
Best regards, Ben Cartland (ex viola player, Third Ear Band)".

At the time of my book on the band, none knew where Cartland were: I could ask him some questions about the origins of the group. For myself, as for Richard Coff, even Ben Cartland had been swallowed up by the Black Hole of Time...and after that kind e-mail he disappeared another time...

As TEB fan David Aragon wrote me later: "If you google 'Ben Cartland', you get the Northamptonshire Composers' Association, and a notice that Ben Cartland has passed away. I wonder if this is the Ben Cartland that I knew when he was with TEB? It was a long time ago, but I remember him well, a very nice person and he was responsible for my interest in Indian raga music, and taking up the violin".

Who remembers Benjamin Cartland? Every memories of him post here  will be a good way to celebrate his art & his life... 

©2010 Luca Ferrari


  1. Another sad new :-( I was sure he was still alive just because he contacted you recently...

  2. I remember Ban Cartland well as I used to drink with him in a pub in Headington, Oxford where his Mum lived. Saw him last in December '06 or thereabouts, and this would have been only months before he passed away.I was very sad to learn of Ben's death and have further BC info culled from our may hours of interesting conversation together to impart if any-one wants more light shedding on this matter --- that being the last few years of Ben's life. In turn, I'd be very grateful for more information on the circumstances surrounding Ben's death if for nothing else, my own peace of mind.
    Tim Perkins

  3. Thanks Tim for your warm words about Ben. As you could read in this archive, I've been in contact with him just for a very short period, when he wrote me just to thank me for the researches on the original TEB... Then he disappeared and I couldn't have further informations from him... The chair of Northampton Composers promised me to investigate about his death, but he never wrote me back...
    Anyway, if you wish to write some memories on Ben for this archive, please write me to my personal e-mail.

  4. Ben & I were a couple from mid '68 to mid '69. Those were the days of the TEB at the Arts Lab, The Alchemical Wedding at the Albert Hall & music everywhere. I have been so sad since I learned of his death, always thinking he was still out there somewhere making music. I wonder what caused his death. He was a creative, soulful guy. We parted well & I have carried love for him through the years. I can picture him with his head bend over his Viola, long brown hair flowing down. Adios Amigo, Dana Leigh

  5. I'm very touched by your tell, Dana. I've tried to have more informations about the last period of Ben and the causes of his death, but Marc Beaumont never wrote me back...
    If you have some memories or stuffs about/of Ben to leave here in this Archive I'm sure many fans would be very glad of it...

  6. Luca, I had an email communication with Marc Beaumont myself. He is in contact with Ben's mother whom I knew from the days when we were together. I asked Marc to pass on my email address & let her know I would love to hear from her. This was all about six months but no word. I may check in with him again and will let you know if I find out anything that might be an addition to your wonderful archive. Dana

  7. Thanks Dana for your post. It'd be great you can have some informations from Ben's mother! Just recently an English rock journalist named Mark Paytress (he's working for the magazine "Mojo")has asked me more info's about Ben for a work is doing on TRex and Marc Bolan... Cheers.

  8. I knew Ben in his last years leading up to his death. Fascinating guy. A total inspiration. I spent a lot of time talking into the small hours about his life,experiences and music. He was writing a book, I wonder what happened to it (?).

    1. Thank you very much Jonathan for your memories on the late Ben. If you'd like to write something more about him, please don't hesitate to contact me through my personal e-mail at dopachino@tiscali.it