Tuesday, January 31, 2012

R.I.P Mary Yandall

Singer Mary Yandall dies, TVNZ.

ADDED Wed Feb 1st: From Amplifier.co.nz: Mary Yandall, an obituary.

ADDED Fri 3rd Feb: Mary Yandall laid to rest in Auckland, photos.

From Stuff.co.nz (Feb 1): Music scene farewells Yandall sister

A who's who of the Kiwi entertainment scene will gather in Auckland on Friday to farewell one of its own. Anna - better known as Mary - Yandall, a key member of the Yandall Sisters, has died aged 62.

A funeral will be held at the Pacific Islanders' Presbyterian Church at Newton from 10am.

Mourners will include veteran crooner John Rowles who took to the stage with Mary, Adele and Pauline numerous times through the 1970s. "They were a united team that worked for every prominent performer in the country through those years," he says.

"They always had a lot of love in their hearts and were a great support to me as back up singers on many occasions - probably the best I've had."

"It always came so naturally for them... they always knew what they had to do."

The Yandall sisters were born into a Samoan family and started performing with another sibling, the late Caroline, as children at Sunday school and various private functions.

Their first recording was in the mid 1960s but they shot to prominence around 1972 as cabaret act - heading to Australia shortly after the release of their first single.

A return to New Zealand in 1973 saw the Yandalls - by now a trio - picked up as a backing group for a number of high profile acts. The sisters appeared on stage with entertainers including Mr Rowles, Billy T James, Prince Tui Teka, Dalvanius Prime and Sir Howard Morrison in the years that followed.

They performed at a tribute concert for Sir Howard after his death in 2009.

The Yandall Sisters recorded numerous singles and released their own album, Up Front in 1976. Sweet Inspiration, released in 1974, was their biggest hit and stayed in the top charts for over three months.

The sisters won the New Zealand Entertainer of the Year Award in 1977 and enjoyed growing popularity as a regular live act and on television well into the 1980s. Rowles recorded Hawaiian Wedding Song as a duet with Mary in the early 70s and the pair performed it live during a concert in 1974.

"She was such a beautiful girl," he says. "And she never changed. She was always kind and a little mischievous in such a wonderful way. I am very sad to know she has gone but she does leave behind such a great legacy."

Yandall will be buried at Waikumete cemetery.

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