Tuesday, May 18, 2010

R.I.P. VINCENT CRAIG

Navajo songwriter/cartoonist/humorist Vincent Craig died last week at the age of 59.

The New Mexican's substitute editorial writer Inez Russell did a wonderful eulogy today.

New Mexico's urban and reservation Indians have long known about the legendary entertainer. Fans of the popular Sunday-afternoon KUNM-FM radio show, Singing Wire, know Craig through his humorous telling of the story of Rita and the candy bar, a twisting tale that shows how love can lead a poor boy astray. For Rita, the hero steals the crazy candy bar and ends up, without her, sitting in the Window Rock jail. It's just one of Craig's many songs, but for whatever reason, "Rita" crossed cultures and audiences to find fans.

Read the whole piece HERE.

I wrote about Vincent in a review of various music events at Indian Market for No Depression back in 1997.

The most poignant and emotional musical moment of the weekend was from Vincent Craig on the Plaza Saturday afternoon. When introducing his song “A Viet Nam Tribute”, he started talking about his brother, who fought in that war. His voice became so shaky, and he was fighting back tears so hard, it seemed for a moment he would not be able to sing it. But he did, and quite powerfully.

(The entire review can be found HERE)

Here's a couple of Vincent performances on Youtube. The first one is a long, humorous monologue. The other is one of his sad songs. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find "Rita.")


Rest in peace Vincent. Hope there's lots of Big Hunk candy bars in Heaven.

UPDATE: The name of the writer of the editorial has been corrected

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