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Jim Pembroke (Wigwam) Has Passed Away


James Francis “Jim” Pembroke (January27, 1946 – October 8, 2021) was a British rock musician.

Pembroke became known mainly in Finland, where he first arrived on May Day 1965 at the invitation of his then girlfriend Maija Tikkanen, who worked as an au pair in London.

Jim Pembroke became best known as the front man and principal singer of Wigwam, who performed progressive rock. Before Wigwam, he was involved in the founding of the Blues Section.

At the beginning of 1969, Blues Section members Pembroke, Nikke Nikamo, Ronnie Österberg and Mats Huldén were setting up a new band in the ruins of the Blues Section.

From the background of the name, Pembroke has told: Wigwam, it is the kind of Indian tent where they hold a fire or smoke a peace pipe, and there is smoke coming from.

In the new band, Pembroke sang and composed. The organist, Jukka Gustavson, who joined the band, later bought anelectric piano, which Pembroke learned to play alongside the piano he had already mastered.

The themes, compositions and arrangements of Jukka Gustavson and Pekka Pohjola were often ambitious and experimental, while the songs written by Pembroke tended to be considerably more pop-like in the spirit of The Beatles and The Band.

Jim Pembroke composed, wrote and sang on the albums of many of Finland’s top two artists. Pembroke composed the songs Riki Sorsan Reggae OK (1981) and Kojon Sleep to the Bomb (1982), which even represented Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest.

In the late 1970s, Pembroke also wrote lyrics and compositions for Hurriganes at Remu Aaltonen’s request. Pembroke was also occasionally a pianist at the band’s gigs and also sang one song on the band’s Jailbird album.

Most of the material from both Kojo and Sorsa’s albums in the early 1980s was written by Jim Pembroke. Indeed, Pembroke became friends with Riki Sorsa so much that they lived as roommates for a while.