Serious Illness Diagnosed for Sue Draheim

Image634981803197066566Prescription Bluegrass has just learned of some sad news for friends, fans and family of Sue Draheim, the fiddler from the 1960’s Dr. Humbead's New Tranquility String Band And Medicine Show and the late 1970’s all-women group Any Old Time String Band.

Sue has  been diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. After a seizure that occurred about a month ago, Sue was hospitalized for a week while they conducted tests and and subsequently discovered that she had a brain tumor.

At first doctors thought the prognosis was hopeful, but It turned out to be a very nasty kind of brain cancer, glioblastoma - tumors that arise from astrocytes – or the star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like,” or supportive tissue of the brain. These tumors are usually highly malignant (cancerous) because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels. - fast-spreading and incurable.

According to a close friend, Sue is deteriorating quickly. Medical advice at this time is that there's no use in doing any kind of treatment, as the cancer is spreading so fast and is so aggressive.

Sue and her partner Wayde are at  home, near Berea KY. Sue will probably be moving to hospice within the next week.

After the forming of  Dr. Humbead's New Tranquility String Band And Medicine Show there was a large community of musicians living in Berkeley, and Sue’s house, known as "The Colby Street House," was the center of much music making and the exploration of mind altering elements characteristic of the era.

Image634981799663174439Mike Seeger, brother of well-known folk hero Pete Seeger, came to California from the East Coast and was blown away by all the traditional music being played almost 24 hours a day at The Colby Street House.  He recorded an album for Folkways called Berkeley Farms on which many of these musicians, including Sue, appeared.

Sue and the Any Old Time String Band recorded two albums, Any Old Time String Band on Arhoolie Records and Any Old Time on Bay Records.  Both have recently been re-released on a single CD produced by Arhoolie Records.

There will be a concert to honor and support Sue, at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, on Mon. April 1st. All net proceeds will go to Sue and Wayde to help with their expenses. I hope you'll be able to attend and join us in celebrating Sue's life and music." You can email messages to Sue here.

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