Erwin Frankel, Early World Music Promoter, Dies At 76
Erwin Frankel, Early World Music Promoter, Dies At 76

Erwin Frankel, whose penchant for the Andean pan flute, traditional Turkish music, and the art of belly dancing allowed the radio host and concert promoter's influence to spread from the WABC-FM radio airwaves to the stage at Carnegie Hall, died Feb. 18 at the age of 76, according to the New York Times. His death stemmed from complications derived from a series of strokes, said his son Gideon.

Frankel is perhaps best known for his one hour nightly radio show, titled "Music From Around The World," that ran from 1959-1972 on WABC-FM, where he brought the sounds of Portuguese fado music, Creole zydeco, flamenco, and other regional folk music from the far reaches of the globe to an audience that had, for the most part, never heard anything of its kind before.

Much of Frankel's talent was evident in his work as a concert promoter, bringing many of these same artists that he brought to the airwaves to the stages of the Lincoln Center and Town Hall in New York, and booking Anahid Sofian's belly dancing troupe at Carnegie Hall for the group's large-scale debut, often filling the seats by reaching out to newspapers that served the diverse ethnic neighborhoods of New York and New Jersey for support.

He also was a large part of the movement to bring attention to the Chilean group Inti-Illimani, the exiled singers who had written the anthem of deposed President Salvador Allende, "Venceremos," after the coup that brought dictator Augustus Pinochet to power resulted in Allende's death in 1973.

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1935, Frankel and his family settled in Mount Vernon, NY by the time he was eleven after spending six years in South America. After spending a year in college in Wisconsin, Frankel moved to New York City and dedicated himself to proliferating world music. He is survived by two sons, Gideon and Saul.