December 31st, 2006

Calexico Performs in Honor of Ariel Cramer

cramerA very special tribute and benefit concert will be held in Tucson on Saturday, January 6th at The Rialto Theatre to honor the memory of mariachi musician Ariel Cramer who passed away unexpectedly in May 2006 leaving behind one child and one newborn he never got to see.

Joey Burns writes:

Ariel Cramer came with us to Europe for the first concerts we ever played with Mariachi Luz de Luna in 2000 for the City Slang Records’ 10th Anniversary in London and Berlin. Ariel was also in the music video for the song ‘Crystal Frontier’ and recently played with us at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, together with Luz de Luna and Lila Downs.

Ariel or “El Cramer” as he was nicknamed, was an instantly likeable person. He always came to rehearsals and performances with a huge heart and personality that lit up the room. He played both the guitar and vihuela exceptionally well in several mariachi groups as well as a heavy metal group. Ariel was always cracking jokes and making us all laugh, his presence is thoroughly missed.

Johnny Contreras of Luz de Luna introduced Ariel to Calexico and when we spoke about doing something to both honor the memory of our friend and raise some money for Ariel’s family – we thought there is no better way than through music.

Volker Zander writes:

Let’s remember El Cramer. He seemed to be shy and quiet. His appearance expressed Gemütlichkeit. Cramer would greet me with a peaceful “Wassup”, but then give me a ton of a handshake. Because he had super powers. I once saw him flying – ‘Ariel’ was his name – over a mile high pile of luggage inside of an overpacked tourbus filled up with about 40 Calexicans, Luz de Lunas, Lambchoppers, their bags and cases. “I might be big, but I can mooove”, he said after the stunt and showed us his biceps. The whole bus cheered. That was
London, 2000.

The last time I played with him was the Tucson show around Xmas 2005. We made the deal cramer2that I had to serve him beer on stage to fight the limelights heat – secretly of course, not for the eyes of the festive audience. We handeld it like Stan and Ollie, as the theater must have witnessed. That particular night he showed his speed-metallist skills on the vihuela. He was a fast ball. The biggest guy with the smallest guitar, the biggest smile and the fastest pace.

Ariel had plans for the future. He talked about teaching kids his music and lessons in life.
I miss Ariel. My thoughts are with you, dear family and friends.

Here is another picture, made minutes before he appeared on stage of the Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles. Not everybody plays this venue. He did.

Tickets are now available for Saturday’s concert which will feature Luca, Calexico, Mariachi Luz de Luna and Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School. All proceeds from the concert will benefit the family of Ariel Cramer