Skip to main content

Twin Cities music community mourns Minnesota's 'First Lady of Song'

Singer Debbie Duncan died Friday. She was 69.

A longtime fixture of the Twin Cities jazz scene has passed away.

Debbie Duncan, a prolific performer at local venues like Crooners in Fridley and the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis, died early Friday morning:

The 69-year-old had been in ill health since late October, when her Facebook page put out a call for prayers following a medical emergency.

According to the Star Tribune, she had suffered a series of strokes and was in a Golden Valley nursing home when she died.

As the paper notes, apart from her talent, Duncan was known for her support of the local music community, and if "she wasn't on stage, she might be sitting at the bar, or standing in the back of the room" to watch her fellow artists perform. 

Duncan was a native of Detroit, Michigan, but had been in the Twin Cities since the mid-1980s, when she took a job with the orchestra at Rupert's Nightclub (now the Metropolitan) in Golden Valley, The Current writes. 

She was also active in music education, teaching "with various organizations, particularly encouraging Black youth to take up instruments and learn about jazz history," the station says. 

You can check out one of her performances in the video below:

Next Up

ConellHarris

Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.

image

FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.

image

State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.

image

Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.

Deer hunting blaze orange

To combat CWD, late-season deer hunting announced for 9 areas of MN

The special hunts will be held between Dec. 16 and 18.

covid

COVID levels rising in wastewater; BQ.1 now dominant

BQ.1 is the new dominant subvariant in Twin Cities wastewater.

Screen Shot 2022-12-02 at 11.43.05 AM

Keith Ellison, other AGs settle with CarMax over recall disclosures

As part of the settlement, CarMax now must disclosure open recalls online and on the lot.

police lights squad car

Man kidnaps 2-year-old daughter in St. Paul, crashes after pursuit in Minneapolis

The incident involved both police departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

police lights

Boys aged 15, 16 arrested after shooting of teen in Woodbury

The victim suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Related

Leah Ottman, aka LOTT

Acclaimed Minneapolis violinist and singer Leah Ottman dies at 33

She also performed as LOTT, the name of her solo project.

Lt. Kent M. Vnuk

Hennepin Co. sheriff's lieutenant mourned after unexpected death

"Lt. Kent Vnuk was a colleague, leader, and most importantly a friend to so many."

Nachito Herrera

Acclaimed Twin Cities piano virtuoso in hospital with coronavirus

The Dakota jazz club says Nachito Herrera is "very ill."

Prince tribute at First Avenue

3 Minneapolis music venues ranked among best in U.S., the world

Two are jazz venues, and the third is a legendary rock venue.

Julio Cesar Guadalupe Rodriguez

'He saved their lives': Austin mourns teen who died protecting family

Julio Cesar Guadalupe Rodriguez was killed in a domestic dispute.