Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ukulele Player

Dying Teen Records Dream Album

A teenage ukulele prodigy refused to let his battle with cancer be his legacy. Instead, he spent his final months realizing a dream of cutting an album with world-class musicians and using the money to help other kids like himself.

Just weeks before his death in August, 16-year-old Killian Mansfield of upstate New York got to hold a copy of his professional CD. "Somewhere Else" features the teen playing alongside such musical talents as Dr. John, Kate Pierson, John Sebastian, Todd Rundgren and Levon Helm.

Killian began playing instruments at age 3. He first took up the violin and then the fiddle before settling on the less common ukulele. When his family moved to the Woodstock, N.Y., area, the boy became well known as a "teenage troubadour," carrying his instrument in a neon-orange case and jamming with local musicians, New York Magazine reported.

He was diagnosed at age 11 with a rare form of synovial sarcoma, a disease that invades muscle and bone tissue. Over the next five years he endured painful treatments and surgeries, including one that removed a large portion of his jaw.

Read more of the article here.

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