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"CIU" 2003 Obituary


CIUT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-12 published
Lise Aerinne WAXER
By Diane YIP, Barbara YIP, Jonathan RUDIN, Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - Page A18
Teacher, musician, writer, traveller, scholar, activist, mentor, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, wife. Born May 30, 1965, in Toronto. Died August 13, 2002, of complications from ulcerative colitis in Hartford, Connecticut., aged 37.
Inspired by her piano teacher, Lise was in Grade 10 when she first announced that she wanted to be an ethnomusicologist and study the people and the music of different cultures. At that time we didn't even know what ethnomusicology was. She pursued that goal with a single-minded dedication.
Her formal university education included degrees at the University of Toronto, York University and the University of Illinois. While in Toronto, Lise produced and hosted one of the city's first world-music programs, on CIUT Radio, was on planning committees for a range of cultural and musical events, and provided translation for visiting Spanish-speaking musicians.
In 1987, after graduating with her bachelor's degree in music from the University of Toronto, Lise travelled to Nepal for two months and ended up staying a year.
After Lise finished her master's degree at York University in 1991, she pursued her doctoral studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Her mandatory course-work completed, she embarked on field-work research on salsa music in Cali, Colombia.
But she did not spend all her time doing fieldwork: Lise formed the first all-woman Latin jazz ensemble in Colombia: Magenta Latin Jazz. She also met the man who would be her husband: journalist, author and poet, Medardo Arias SATIZABAL.
Lise's time in Cali is summed up in her second book -- The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia -- published posthumously by Wesleyan University Press.
After completing her PhD, Lise accepted a teaching position in the music department at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Teaching allowed her to continue her travels. In addition to returning to Colombia, she also went to Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Trinidad.
In Hartford, her adopted city, Lise was very committed to making a difference. In particular, she wanted to ensure that the university understood the vibrant life in the city's Hispanic community. She made those connections in a number of ways.
Every year, Lise put together a student ensemble called Salsafication. Students learned the joys and intricacies of salsa music and the band was always in demand to play at numerous functions. Her energy and leadership not only changed the way the students looked at music, but also the way they looked at themselves.
Lise was the driving force behind Ritmo de Pueblo -- a cultural event that brought Hartford's Hispanic community and the university together in a way that had not occurred before. Lise felt that the resources of the university needed to be shared and her goal was to bring down the fences, figuratively, starting with the Puerto Rican community. She saw the arts as a non-threatening way for people to see that they are not that different from each other. As someone with parents from different backgrounds -- Chinese and Jewish -- Lise knew how important it was to celebrate our differences rather than allowing them to marginalize us. Lise taught us all the power that music and dance can have in breaking down walls.
Lise dreamed big dreams and lived fully; she packed a lifetime of experience into her 37 years. Her life touched so many of us.
Diane is Lise's mother, Barbara is her aunt, Jonathan is her uncle.

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