Picture: Squirrel Thing Recordings
Connie Converse has been described by Gene Deitch as a “plain-Jane, wearing glasses and not at all looking like she would fit in with our crowd.”
However, Deitch also recollects that “when she started to sing, she transformed us.”
But just 20 years later, Connie Converse disappeared.
Over the previous few years, Connie sank into depression – smoking and drinking heavily and borrowing money for projects that were never successful.
Then, one day in 1974 – she disappeared and was never heard from again.
No-one knows what happened to Connie.
However, 40 years later – her haunting music is going viral on Spotify.
Connie has become the subject of a documentary and play and it’s all thanks to a chance tape-recording Deitch made.
Before she vanished, Converse sent a letter to her friends and family: “Let me go. Let me be if I can. Let me not be if I can’t. [ …] Human society fascinates me & awes me & fills me with grief & joy; I just can’t find my place to plug into it.”
But the world couldn’t let her go. In 2004, Dan Doula heard the song on the radio by chance, after Deitch was invited to play some of his favourite records on air.
“It hit us on a very emotional level. I was so engrossed, I wanted to dive in.” He went home and recorded the track from the show’s podcast, sharing it with friends over the following few years.
Occasionally, he Googled Converse’s name to see when an album might be coming out.
Eventually, Doula got in touch with Deitch to discover more.
When he learned of her story, he started an independent record label, Squirrel Thing Recordings, named from a line from One of Connie’s song, Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains).
When they contacted her family, they revealed that while many thought she had taken her own life back in 1974, her family believe she’s still alive.
If that were true, she’d be 90-years-old today.