DeLois Barrett Campbell 1926-2011

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Wednesday 14th September 2011

Lead singer of the Barrett Singers dies aged 85

VETERAN gospel diva DeLois Barrett Campbell of the legendary family group The Barrett Sisters died aged 85, from a pulmonary embolism on the 2nd of August in Chicago. Delois father was a church deacon, while her mother sang in the church choir, led by one of her aunts, who helped train her and her sisters. Her neighbours in Chicago included Thomas A. Dorsey (the "Father Of Gospel Music") and Mahalia Jackson, both of whom served as important mentors for the young singer. During the 1940s, she joined the famous Roberta Martin Singers and made several recordings as a soloist with the group, which later included such stars as the Rev James Cleveland and Alex Bradford. She also married Rev Frank Campbell in 1941 and helped lead worship in their church. In the early 1960s, she reformed the Barrett Sisters trio with her two sisters, Billie Barrett Greenbey and Rodessa Barrett Porter. The Barrett Sisters were heavily featured in George Nierenberg's acclaimed 1982 documentary film, "Say Amen Somebody". This led to appearances on the Tonight Show and Oprah Winfrey, as well as increased interest in Europe. Over the last few years, Barrett Campbell suffered from severe arthritis and was confined to a wheelchair. DeLois lost her voice two years ago due to vocal cord polyps. Delois is survived by her two sisters and daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren. A documentary about her life and career is currently in production. CR

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