Terrible news. Reggae-punk icon Ari Up has died, according to John Lydon. The Slits singer, born Ariane Forster, was 48 years old.
Lydon, who is married to Forster's mother Nora, announced the following on his website:
John and Nora have asked us to let everyone know that Nora's daughter Arianna (aka Ari-Up) died today (Wednesday, October 20th) after a serious illness. She will be sadly missed.
Everyone at JohnLydon.com and PiLofficial.Com would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to John , Nora and family.
Rest in Peace.
Here's footage from the Slits' August 3, 2007, show at the El Rey, including some choice interview bits, and a little bit from the intimate Punky Reggae Party afterparty that Ari hosted at La Cita downtown that same night. Some of us were lucky enough to have witnessed that lovely night.
Ari Up was a fearless innovator and, by all accounts, an incredibly positive human being who spread that sentiment through her music. She was 14 when she formed the Slits in 1976. The group released two albums before splitting up in 1981 -- including the 1979 classic Cut, which boldly featured the band naked except for mud and loin clothes -- and reforming in 2005 to drop 2009's Trapped Animal on L.A. label Narnack.
She also pursued a solo career, leaving behind one album, 2005's Dread More Dan Dead. Her exact cause of death is unknown. We're deeply saddened to see her go, and would like to reiterate the sentiment expressed by the fellow toward the end of that clip: "The movement doesn't stop. The movement keeps going, the way nature doesn't stop."
Earlier this year, Ari Up and fellow members of The Slits were in Los Angeles, where they participated in Amoeba's "What's in My Bag?" video series. Gustavo Turner posted about it here on West Coast Sound.