Ari Up

(1962-2010) – Musician

Ariane Daniele Forster, known by her stage name Ari Up, was a German vocalist best known as a member of the English punk rock band The Slits. She was born in Munich, West Germany where both her parents were involved in the music industry.

Her mother Nora married the Sex Pistols’ lead singer John Lydon in 1979. Ari experimented with the genre, learning to play the guitar from The Clash’s Joe Strummer. In 1976, at the age of fourteen, she formed The Slits with drummer Palmolive. Guitarist Viv Albertine joined the group and was deeply impressed by the young singer: ‘English was her second language. It was not easy for her and she had to fight to be taken seriously.’ By the late 1970s, The Slits were touring as the opening act for The Clash. The group disbanded in 1981. Up’s first full-length solo album, Dread More Dan Dead, was released in 2005. In 2008, Ari Up was diagnosed with breast cancer. She refused chemotherapy. The Slits’ final work, the video for the song ‘Lazy Slam’ from Trapped Animal, was released posthumously in accordance with Ari’s wishes. 

When I was twelve we wrote fan mail to The Slits and they replied and sent us their hair ribbons. I loved her badass feminist attitudes and the punk/reggae fusion music she performed. Years later when she was living in Kingston, I used to see her riding around on her motorbike. We always waved at each other. Sadly, gone too soon.

Lucy Davies

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