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FAT Village Celebrates Day of the Dead; We Remember Musicians Who Passed Away in 2012

Dia de los Muertes gets a lot of respect here in the U.S. Perhaps that's because Hallmark hasn't sinked their cheap teeth into the holiday... Yet. Or perhaps it's because the day is grounded in a Latin American celebration of remembrance of those who've passed, instead of a party atmosphere of getting girls to dress like hoochies and drink like drunks.  


See also
- Adam Yauch, We'll Miss You, Thanks for Everything

Dia de los Muertes, which has its roots in ofrendas, or shrines made in honor of the dead, is being celebrated, not yesterday, November 1, but tonight in Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village. Locals will take the time to create shrines of their own, a skeleton procession will march, and bands will perform. 

This year, many musicians have passed away, and we'd like to remember a few of them here. Our apologies for skipping right past Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, and Davy Jones, may they rest in peace.   

5. Nick Curran
I'm just going to start right off the one that hit me the hardest. Nick

Curran was 35-years-old when cancer took him just a few weeks ago. He

played a type of music that geeks might call jump blues, but he really

was in a category of his own. He melded blues, punk, garage, and

rockabilly into a hybrid of ass-kicking rock 'n' roll, and wasn't one bit

afraid to cite an influence others might think uncool.  


He sang like a 1957 Little Richard on the Specialty label, and played guitar like an

Angus Young/B.B. King cocktail. Curran recorded five solo albums in

addition to residencies with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ronnie Dawson,  and Kim Lenz. Anyone that saw him play live won't soon forget him.  


4. Adam Yauch
Adam Yauch was another one that passed way too soon. Although I would

have guessed he was also in his 30s, he was a Beastie Boy for that long. Yauch made it to 47 before succumbing to cancer.  


Being in a group of

white rappers in the '80s couldn't have been easy. And street cred was a

little bit tougher to come by in New York. As simple as it would have

been to sell a few rap albums and be a footnote in the rap craze history book, the Beastie Boys hit their high water mark for me in 1994

with their single "Sabotage."



3. Hubert Sumlin
It's a shitty state of affairs when one of the most influential blues

guitarists is remembered, in a modern context, for shilling dick pills. But that is Hubert Sumlin's guitar riff that you have stuck in your

head everytime you see an ad for Cialis. The song is called "Smokestack

Lightning" by Howlin' Wolf, released on the Chess label in 1956. Sumlin

played for Wolf his whole career and was still playing live up to his

death at age 80.  


 





2. Levon Helm 

I'm beginning to think Day of the Dead would have a lot fewer

remembrances if it weren't for cancer. Cancer took Levon Helm at the

age of 71. After fighting back from losing his voice to throat cancer in

the late '90s, he managed to tour up until the disease finally won out

earlier this year.  


From his time with the Band, to his

multi-instrumentalist folk albums, to his time on the big screen, Helm

was hard not to love.  He made you feel that everyone from the south

must be as big hearted and as well spoken as him. I've always been

touched by "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and Helm's emotional

presentation. But watch him do it again from The Last Waltz.  If you

don't have goose bumps, something's wrong with you.




1. Etta James
Of all the hard living blues men to come out of the Chess label in the

'50s and 60's, who would have guess that the hardest living among them

would be a woman?  And that she would have outlived all the men? 

Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Little Walter... none of them

could keep up with the hard drinking and heroin use of Etta James. She

came to Chess in 1960 and managed to produce a debut album covering

blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, and soul.  While her most famous

song was only a minor blip on the charts at the time of its release, "At

Last" has endured to be its own ofrenda to the beauty of James' amazing

voice.



We also want to take special notice of the local losses 2012 brought us: Big Poppa E, Brett Tanner, Dan Hosker, and Bobby "Load" Johnston.

Remember those who've passed away at the Day of the Dead Celebration in FAT Village Arts District, Flagler Arts and Theater Village, at 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2. Processional line up begins at 5:45 p.m. at Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art (open from 4 to 6 p.m.). The celebration offices are at 504 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. A mariachi band will lead the procession north on Andrews Ave. to NW 5 St., ending in the heart of FAT Village. The event is free.



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