Ari Up  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ariane Forster (1 January 1962 – 20 October 2010), better known by her stage name Ari Up, was a vocalist best known as a member of the English punk group, The Slits.


Forster was born in Munich, Germany, the granddaughter of a wealthy German newspaper proprietor (Der Spiegel). Forster's mother, Nora, was known in the music industry, as she was a friend of Jimi Hendrix, and dated Chris Spedding for three years. Nora would later date and marry the Sex Pistols' lead singer, John Lydon. Their home was known to be something of a punk domain, where Nora would take in poor musicians. The constant presence of punk music led to Ari Up experimenting in it herself, learning guitar skills from The Clash's Joe Strummer.

Ari Up was only fourteen when she formed The Slits with drummer Palmolive in 1976. Ari Up's love of reggae led The Slits into a "jungly", dub style. She was the most flamboyant member of the group. Her wild hair and crazy stage outfits became her trademarks. She can be seen briefly in The Clash movie, Rude Boy, with the band backstage. Her 1977 performances with The Slits are featured in The Punk Rock Movie, a 1992 release of various punk group club performances, principally at The Roxy.

After The Slits split in 1981, she moved with her husband and twin children to jungle regions of Indonesia and Belize, living among indigenous people in those areas. Later, they moved to Jamaica, eventually settling in Kingston.

She continued to make music, first with the New Age Steppers, then solo as Baby Ari, Madussa, and Ari Up.

Despite growing up in England, Ari Up possesses an unusual accent which is the result of a cross between German and Jamaican.

Her first full length solo album entitled Dread More Dan Dead was released in 2005.

Later life and death

In 2006 Ari Up reformed The Slits with original bass player Tessa Pollitt. They released an EP Return of the Giant Slits and have since toured in Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan. She occasionally played solo concerts in New York, and toured the UK with her backing band 'The True Warriors'

She also recorded with the Jammyland All Stars, and the German techno-dancehall outfit, Terranova.

Ari Up appeared on the Lee "Scratch" Perry's 2008 album, Repentance, and performed a duet on a cover version of The Yardbirds' song "Mister You're a Better Man Than I" on Mark Stewart's 2008 album, Edit. In July 2009, she performed with Perry and Austrian dub band Dubblestandart in Brooklyn, New York just prior to the Central Park SummerStage festival.

On 20 October 2010, John Lydon's homepage announced, on behalf of John and Ari's mother Nora Forster, Ari Up's passing that morning from a "serious illness".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ari Up" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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