Lives Remembered

Quiet man of music who shared stages with the stars

Hugo Carlin was a member of several showbands and played support to The Who, Roy Orbison and many others

Hugo Carlin from Derry was the quiet man who shared the stage with the stars.

One of the most talented musicians in a city full of music, Hugo’s skill as a bass and keyboard player took him all over the world.

As a member of a range of showbands, including The Trend, he played support to The Who, Roy Orbison and many others in a career which stretched from his native Derry to Canada and beyond in the 1960s and '70s.

Hugo died aged 70 on July 29 after a long battle with illness which he faced with the quiet strength and stoicism which were the hallmarks of a life well lived as a musician, a worker with the Derry Youth and Community Workshop (DYCW) and, most importantly, as husband to Marie and father to Mairead and Áine.

A stalwart of the music scene in Derry, Hugo was in huge demand from bands and worked for many years as a professional musician.

However, according to his wife Marie, in later years he found his “niche” with the DYCW.

It was there that his positive outlook on life came to fruition as he helped hundreds of young people start out on life-long careers as well as older people returning to full time work.

“Hugo always said there were two words which should never and could never go together, they were 'constructive' and 'criticism'.

"He hated to see anyone being put down,” Marie said.

While Hugo was publicly one of Derry’s best known and most talented sons, to those closest to him he was the quiet and gentle man who was the driver of his family.

With his encouragement and guidance, daughter Mairead followed him into the world of music as a singer with world-renowned Celtic Women.

The creative genes also ran strong with Áine, a successful cookery writer.

Marie said the family was always aware of Hugo’s reputation as a musician but was unprepared for the huge outpouring of love, admiration and grief from strangers as news of his death spread.

He was always young at heart and his ability to connect with young people helped him help them.

At his funeral at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Thornhill on Monday, people came in droves to honour the quiet and determined man who – unknown to all but a few – had gone the extra mile to help them on their way.

Following Requiem Mass, Hugo was laid to rest at Derry city cemetery.

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Lives Remembered