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‘The cancellations keep coming’ – Life as an artist in a time of a fatal ‘nightmare’

By David Pendered

The Swedish singer stuck in Texas by the pandemic has returned to Europe, and hopes to return to the United States and pick up a tour that once included a stop in Decatur in August. Her summer tour in Europe has been canceled.

Sofia Talvik, southwest

Swedish Americana songstress Sofia Talvik has returned to Europe. Plans for a performance in Decatur, in August, seem tentative. File/Credit: sofiatalvik.com

The pedal steel guitarist who joined in her quarantine concerts has died of a heart attack. He tested twice for COVID-19 and was found to be negative for the virus. The tests came after a days-long delay in seeking medical help. During that delay he reported feeling so badly that he posted on Facebook he thought had contracted the virus and was enduring a “F****** nightmare.”

Sofia Talvik captures the reality of a working artist in her latest post on Facebook’s events page, where she promotes her quarantine concert on Saturday:

  • “The cancellations keep coming, our U.S spring tour was canceled, and now all our European dates are off until Fall as well. We appreciate if you can donate for the shows we do, as that is our only way of getting some income for food and rent now.”

Talvik and her ensemble were in Texas in March, enroute to perform in the South by Southwest cultural event when it was canceled. They took shelter in a friend’s beach shack in Surfside. They passed time waiting for, whatever. Talvik wrote Meanwhile in Winnsboro, which she and pedal steel player Tim Fleming performed in one of their quarantine concerts.

Fleming is known to the generation that danced to Gloria, the platinum-certified song released in 1982 by Laura Branigan. Fleming and Branigan performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman, according to a report in southpasadenan.com. Fleming years ago had given up life as a performing musician for a job with benefits, at his wife’s request, and began performing again in later life, appearing in the Pasadena, Ca. area.

On his Facebook page on April 19, Fleming posted this comment about his condition. To reiterate – Fleming was tested twice for the virus and each test was negative. His doctors determined his death was due to heart attack:

Tim Fleming, mask

Tim Fleming. Credit: facebook.com/tflemingo

  • “I’ve got it.
  • “And guess what?
  • “You DON’T want it.
  • “I’ll be tested tomorrow, but considering what I’ve been through over the past 4 days, I can say quite certainly that I will test positive.
  • “This is a F****** NIGHTMARE folks. [Edited comment]
  • “Be careful if you must be out, unless you’re up for a ride to hell and (hopefully) back.
  • “It’s not just a flu. Trust me.”

Talvik and her husband started their trip home to Europe on April 16, according to a report on her Facebook page. The trip began with a three-day drive from Surfside to Florida, where they store their little motor home, followed by a flight to Europe. They reside in Berlin.

No sooner had they landed than Talvik posted this note on Facebook, on April 21:

  • “My dear friend Tim Fleming, who also played on several of my albums and was just with me a month ago on tour, passed away this morning due to the corona virus. He was so careful, wearing his mask at all times, never went outside unless he really had to. I just texted with him the other day when he told people he had contracted the virus. He didn’t seem all too worried and just a day later he’s gone. There will be a hole in my heart forever that will be the shape of him. Rest In Peace my friend.
  • “Edit: Tim’s family states that the doctors ruled the death due to heart attack. Tim was convinced that he had the virus, because of this he didn’t seek help in time. Please everyone stay safe and if you get sick, seek medical help. In any case Tim is lost to us and nothing can make the pain any less.”
talvik, fleming

Singer Sofia Talvik and pedal steel guitarist appeared together on several of Talvik’s recordings. Credit: facebook.com/sofiatalvikmusic/

The photo that accompanies the post resembles a publicity photo of a platinum-certified act of the disco era, Captain and Tennile. Fleming wears a captain’s hat, ala “Captain” Daryl Dragon, and Talvik drapes her arms over Fleming’s shoulder, ala Toni Tennille.

Fleming shared his sense of humor in one of the quarantine concerts:

  • “A skeleton walks into a bar and says, ‘Bartender, give me a beer, and a mop.’
  • “Now, it will take another 2 ½ minutes to figure that out. But it’s funny.”

Home for barely a week, Talvik continues to work. Saturday she’s booked to do another online show, Live in Your Kitchen: Virtual Happy Hour, Dinner and Concert.

In a rather cheery introduction that preceded the description of the reality of her financial situation, Tavlik wrote:

  • “We frequently get questions about how to make Swedish meatballs and I often see ridiculous recipes that has everything from stale bread to cumin in them. Get ready for the real deal.”

Note to readers: Sofia Talvik’s Dinner and Song quarantine concert is to begin around 1 p.m. EDT.

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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