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Laka Daisical [Laka D; Koc, Dorota Mary]locked

  • Val Wilmer

(b Oxford, England, Jan 8, 1953). English singer, pianist, composer, and music director. From a background in rock and soul bands, notably Soulyard, from 1982 to 1988 she was a member of the Guest Stars, in which she played piano and sang; she also wrote much of the group’s material. In 1982 she co-founded the Lydia D’Ustebyn Swing Orchestra, was an organizer of Early Evening Jazz, the first women’s jazz festival held in London (at the Drill Hall), and sang in the a cappella group the Hipscats (comprising five singers, including Jan Ponsford, Jim Dvorak, and Ruthie Smith, and later the pianist Alastair Gavin). An intermittent affiliation with Carol Grimes involved work in her band and in a duo. She sang and played piano with Annie Whitehead, with whom she recorded the album Mix Up (1985, Paladin 6), then led her own band, which included Claude Deppa. In the 1990s she played with Mervyn Afrika, Kate Westbrook, the percussionist Josefina Cupido, and the saxophonists Louise Elliot and Diane McLaughlin, composed and directed music for stage shows, and taught. Laka Daisical is a propulsive pianist and exciting performer heavily influenced by African-American gospel music, as exemplified by Weep over it, on the Guest Stars’ eponymous album (1984, Guest Stars 10). Among her extended compositions are House of Spirits (1989) and Slav to the Music (1990), which emphasizes her Polish roots and other Slavic connections.

Oral history material in GBLnsa.

For further recordings see Guest Stars.

Bibliography

  • V. Wilmer: “Half the Bandstand,” City Limits (30 April – 6 May 1982), 41
  • V. Wilmer: “Emancipation of the Slav,” The Independent (13 July 1990)
  • G. Lock: “Ironing in the Soul,” Chasing the Vibration: Meetings with Creative Musicians (Exeter, England, 1994), 99