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Dario's Citizen Obituary
Obituary - Dario Domingues
Ottawa Citizen, Friday April 21, 2000
ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT PLAYED WITH AN UNBRIDLED PASSION
By Lynn Saxberg
Dario Domingues was a musician with an adventurous spirit who
put his heart into every performance. Whether it was an outdoor
festival, benefit concert or children's show, the Argentina-born
singer, composer and instrumentalist played with the same
He firmly believed that music is the universal languague.
Mr. Domingues will be missed by a generation of music lovers,
from youngsters who saw him perform at school to adults who
caught him yearly at one of Canada's summer festivals.
He died suddenly last weekend at the age of 46.
He was born in Neuquen, Argentina near the Patagonian mountains,
in 1954, and made his way to Ottawa in the mid '70s.
With his long dark hair and exotic array of instruments, he was
a colourful sight when he busked on Sparks Street in his early
years, making ends meet by frying hamburgers and cleaning
A self-taught musician, Mr. Domingues began with the folk music
and wind and percussion instruments of his homeland, but quickly
absorbed the influences of other cultures. His style ranged
from ethereal panpipe atmospherics to fiery Latin rhythms. "I
try for a melding of concepts between South and North America in
the themes I choose to express in my music, and in the style of
music I produce," said Mr. Domingues in a 1994 interview with
In many ways, his music was ahead of his time, notes Joe Reilly,
an Ottawa-area concert promoter who worked with Mr. Domingues
many times. Mr. Domingues' late-1980s band, Tupac Amaru, for
example, played an upbeat style of Afro-Brazilian music.
"That was ahead of the whole big worldbeat buzz thing," says Mr.
Reilly. "He was merging sounds and styles and creating a big
worldbeat ensemble, not just riveted in African or Latin, but
combining all these things. He was always ahead of the trends,
unfortunately. I think that his music was always kind of
underappreciated here in Canada."
But Mr. Domingues was popular in Europe, particularly Germany,
where he toured regularly and won several critics' choice
awards. Many of his more than 20 recordings were available only
In fact, though Mr. Doningues probably could have lived
comfortably off his music in Germany, he loved Canada and felt
at home in Ottawa.
"People ask me why I stay here," he said in 1987. "I like
Canada. I come from Argentina, which is also a large country
with a small population. I find Europe so crowded and hectic. I
need the quiet atmosphere here. I've been happy in Canada."
Mr. Domingues found a niche in Ottawa's music community,
contributing to other people's recordings and finding ways to
make his flutes and percussion work with folk and country
instruments. He also had a strong sense of social justice and
could be counted on to perform at any worthwhile benefit concert.
Mr. Domingues is survived by his 13-year old son Damien.
A fund has been set up to help Damien, and to bring family
members to Ottawa from Argentina for a memorial service. The
fund will also help defray funeral expenses. Donations can be
sent to MASC, 250 Holland Ave., Ottawa, K1Y 0Y6. Cheques should
be made out to MASC: Dario Domingues Memorial Fund.
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