Street musician’s body found in Key West harbor Friday morning


A Key West street musician who wrote his own songs but identified with Jimi Hendrix when it came to style was found dead Friday morning in the harbor aside Mallory Square.

Police identified the body as Kenneth “Kenyatta” Shelby Arrington, who lived off and on in Key West for decades. He was 64.

An autopsy report is still pending and the investigation ongoing, but police said they found no signs of foul play. Key West police were at the waterfront removing the body at about 7 a.m. Friday.

Arrington, a New Jersey native, was known for playing outside Fausto’s grocery store on Fleming Street, where he always had a compliment or an endearment for women passing by. Over the years, he became a fixture on the island.

“He was a Key West character in a good way,” Mayor Craig Cates posted on Facebook. “He will be missed very much.”

He loved to talk about meeting his would-be mentor, Hendrix, in New York during the summer of 1970, and said the legendary musician invited him to his studio to work on ideas.

Hendrix liked how Arrington had affixed an electric pickup to a flute, according to Arrington.

“He’d never seen anything like that and told me I was way ahead of the game,” Arrington wrote on his website.

In recent years Arrington fought City Hall over code violations accusing him of illegally using an amplifier while working as a street performer.

Earlier this year, Arrington had told many locals he was moving overseas to get married but he was recently living in Key West, where he said he had lived off and on for 40 years.

On Wednesday evening, all of his belongings, including his guitar, bike and clothing, were found left on a bench steps away from the harbor at the Truman Waterfront.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen