Stephen Malinowski performs with Cha Wa at Michael Arnone's Crawfish Festival. Photo via Cha Wa's Facebook page.

Cha Wa Keyboardist Stephen Malinowski Passes Away at 25

New Orleans-based keyboard player Stephen Malinowski died over the weekend. According to Live for Live Music, he was 25 years old and would have turned 26 on June 23.

Malinowki, a New York State native, was a member of the Mardi Gras Indian band Cha Wa, as well as a regular solo piano performer at Le Bon Temps Roule. The Berklee College of Music graduate also played with blues artist Ana Popovic’s touring band, and was a member of Brooklyn-based funk collective Turkuaz before he moved to New Orleans.

A post on Cha Wa’s Facebook page reads:

It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of our brother, bandmate, and favorite piano virtuoso Stephen Malinowski. Steve’s infectious and inspired playing on stage was legendary. We have never witnessed another performer look more over joyed to play his instrument, regardless if it was on an old out-of-tune upright piano in a dive bar or a grand piano in a concert hall. He really inspired us to be better musicians and people. Words cannot express the loss we are feeling. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Steve’s partner Brittney and Steve’s family.
Rest in Peace, Rest In Power.
Stephen Malinowski 1990-2016

Live for Live Music reports that Malinowski passed away at his home in New Orleans.

UPDATE: In celebration of Stephen Malinowski’s life and music, services will be held at the Charbonnet Funeral Home from 10am until 12pm this Wednesday 6/22 followed by a second line at 12:15pm. Refreshments will be available at Frenchy’s Gallery from 2pm to 5:30pm and a memorial concert featuring Cha Wa and the Heart Attacks at The Maple Leaf from 3pm to 7:30pm.