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Neil Kulkarni Has Died, Aged 51
Patrick Clarke , January 23rd, 2024 11:51

The much-loved music journalist – whose work appeared in Melody Maker, The Wire and here on The Quietus – passed away following a suspected heart attack

Neil Kulkarni, the esteemed writer for Melody Maker and The Quietus among other publications, has died, aged 51.

He passed away following a suspected heart attack on Monday afternoon (January 22) in Coventry, with news of his death being confirmed earlier today (January 23) via a social media post by The Moonbears, the band of which Kulkarni was a member.

"It's with a sense of shock, devastation, disbelief and the reality that our worlds have in part ended, that we have to share that Neil suddenly passed away yesterday," the post read. "Those who knew Neil will know him through their own experiences — the dedicated husband and father who genuinely, consistently and without question put himself second to needs of those he loved. His barbed, hilarious, brutally honest and emotionally gifted journalism. As the DJ who kept his records and CDs loose in a carrier bag and could rarely play a song that didn't skip – but they were the best songs."

Kulkarni began writing professionally in 1993. He became best known for his work at Melody Maker, while also contributing to both mainstream titles like Uncut, Vox and Loaded, and underground magazines such as Lime Lizard and Knowledge. His writing also appeared in publications such as The Wire, The Guardian and DJ Mag, where he was the magazine's hip hop editor.

Alongside his writing work, he had been a member of The Moonbears since the early 2000s, was a key part of the popular Top Of The Pops podcast Chart Music, and lectured in music journalism at BIMM Music Institute Birmingham.

Embarking on his freelance writing career in 2000, Kulkarni's first book, Hip Hop – Bring The Noise, was published in 2004. The Periodic Table Of Hip Hop followed in 2015.

In 2012, he published Eastern Spring: A 2nd Gen Memoir, which was an extension of an autobiographical series for The Quietus about growing up in an immigrant family in Coventry in the 1970s and 80s.

As well as his An Eastern Spring run of articles for The Quietus, Kulkarni wrote the long-running series A New Nineties. These series, as well as his obituary for fellow Coventrian Terry Hall of The Specials in 2022, and more, are among the finest things this website has ever published.

Following news of Kulkarni's death, his friend and fellow writer David Stubbs has launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help support his family, including partner Lenie, sister Meera and daughters Georgie and Sofia. You can donate to that here.

Everyone here at The Quietus would like to pass on their sincere condolences to his family and friends. A further tribute to Kulkarni will follow in due course.