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Death of Wickety Wak star

March 29, 2013

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PAHNIE Jantzen, who thrilled audiences with his Louis Armstrong tributes as part of Brisbane’s highly successful Wickety Wak showgroup, died yesterday after a long illness.

Pahnie Jantzen

Just two weeks earlier, Pahnie had joined his former Wickety Wak co-stars on stage at Twin Towns Services Club after Greg Doolan invited him to join them for an impromptu performance of Louis Armstrong’s `What a Wonderful World’. It was a performance that left not a dry eye in the audience.

“So much love in the room that night for Pahnie’s final appearance on stage. Thank you to Pahnie Jantzen … you are a true inspiration to your family, friends and fans,” was the message written on the official Wak website. “Rest in peace our brother Pahnie from your loving brothers Greg Doolan, Tony Jeffrey, Rob Rosenlund, Peter Mackay and Paul Ewart.”

Pahnie Jantzen’s musical career began at 14 with a family group in his home town – Wanganui, New Zealand. He became a carpenter and moved to Australia working in various towns, and played in a number of groups at night. He had based himself in Brisbane when Greg Doolan invited him to join the `Wak’ as bass player. The `magic’ Maori, as he was affectionately known, brought Louis Armstrong’s music alive, and provided an insight into Stevie Wonder.

“When Wickety Wak retired in 1990 Pahnie admitted to feeling a little lost. For 16 years he’d had his ‘family’ of four brothers with him and they were constantly flying here and driving there, with almost every day in a different town. After a year Pahnie settled into life without Wak and started his solo career, which included a short stint with the band, Three Dimension. He later joined Wak’s Peter and Robbie in `Out of Wak’.

Pahnie and his wife Ngaire worked together in the highly successful duo Pinkke Champagne while also teaming with either Rob Rosenlund or Tony Jeffrey as a duo from time to time. See Wickety Wak’s official website at www.wicketywak.com.au to view Pahnie’s tribute to Louis Armstrong. It is a performance you won’t want to miss.

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