Singer-songwriter Ray Scudero, who died on Saturday, would take his carefully packed “gig bag” with him to each performance. It contained not only his own things, his widow Joanna Katzen recalled this week, but also items that might come in useful for other musicians, such as superglue, pliers and strings for mandolins and banjos—two instruments he did not play. “That way, if someone’s string broke or guitar cracked, he’d always have the parts to repair it,” she said.
It was this appealing combination of musical talent, technical expertise and kindness that members of Israel's folk music community recalled this week when paying tribute to Scudero.
Considered a leading figure in the close-knit and largely Anglo folkie community, Scudero was a regular performer at festivals and clubs across Israel, where he sang his own compositions and played his guitar and his “Stanley,” a 12-string instrument that he created himself. He ran his own recording studio from his home in Karkur, where he also built and repaired fretted instruments. “Within the folk community here, there’s almost no guitar that hasn’t been touched by him,” said Katzen. “You can see his custom-made pick-ups, his filed-down bridges and his tuning machines all over the country.”