Tributes flow for Melbourne guitarist Dion Hirini: ‘A big loss’
Victoria’s music community is gathering around the family of Melbourne guitarist Dion Hirini.
He played with Vika & Linda Bull, Debra Byrne, Paul Kelly, Tina Arena, Vanessa Amorosi and Kasey Chambers among others.
Hirini, who was born in New Zealand, passed away from a heart condition on Friday (March 12) while travelling home from a regional Victorian show as part of the Keep The Circle Unbroken Tour in the Row Jerry Crow band.
Friends started a crowd-funding campaign to raise $20,000 for his funeral. A Celebration For Dion is scheduled for 11am on Friday, March 19, at Memo Music Hall in St. Kilda.
The campaign has raised almost $5,000 from over 50 donors at the time of writing.
“Dion was one of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet in life – a kind and gentle soul who brought happiness to the lives of so many people, be it with his smile, laugh, voice or guitar,” Memo Music Hall’s Simon Myers said.
“Words cannot describe how sorely he will be missed.”
The Retreat Hotel in Abbotsford, where Hirani played frequently, held a tribute afternoon, concluding with singer Amarinder’s performance of Sam Sparro’s global hit ‘Black And Gold’.
Hirini played with the Bulls for 10 years, and with Vika in the musical At Last The Etta James Story.
The sisters said: “We lost our brother Dion. We always called him the third Bull Sister and our hearts are broken. Thank you for so many beautiful moments we spent together. We love you D.”
Ross Wilson tweeted, “Sad to hear of the sudden passing of talented guitarist Dion Hirini, a constant presence on the Melbourne music scene whose skills lifted & inspired us.”
David Bridie called him “wonderful guitarist and such a warm-hearted fella” and “a big loss”.