In a tragic chain of events, local drummer Sarah Papenheim’s life was taken in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She was 21 years old and attending college in that city.
Since the age of 12, Sarah was a fixture in the local blues scene. Her natural talent was matched by her infectious smile and love of music. So many of the area’s established blues men and women saw a kindred spirit. They poured their knowledge and wisdom into her. Sarah absorbed those lessons like a sponge. Like Buddy Guy said: “The blues are just a hand me down thing.” Night after night she could be found, escorted by her mother Donee, at open mic stages around town. There is little question the young woman was destined for great things.
What made Sarah special was it was always music first. She was close friends with musicians of all ages, gender and race. None of that mattered to her as long as somebody wanted to plug in and play. In an industry often dominated by ego and competitiveness, she always remained gracefully and joyfully above it all. Blues stages around the Twin Cities will surely go quiet for a minute in the days to come. Then the music will start; tears will flow as fellow musicians and fans try to come to terms with a senseless act which took so much from so many.
For music fans who never had the privilege to know her, please take a moment to enjoy this wonderful video. The occasion was her 20th birthday. She made her way across Europe to see her friend Bernard Allison performing in Bonn, Germany. Not surprisingly, she ended up behind the kit playing to an appreciative crowd. Her joy is apparent.
Music is communal. Our community mourns a remarkable young woman. This is the way we will always remember you Sarah Papenheim.