By Eric Crittenden, on the passing of Buffalo’s beloved Emile “Papa” Latimer…
With Papa’s passing, it goes without saying that there’s gonna be a hole in the soul of Buffalo. In terms of American music legacy, there are few in our physical lives that come close to what Papa accomplished, who he played with and his impact on the entire musicality and collective cultural consciousness of Buffalo and the World.
An old friend and I just re-acquainted ourselves, and we were discussing the true role of the ‘Muse’ in society. He reminded me of the cultural responsibility and welcome reliability of the Muse right here at home. We are here to feed the heart of culture in our own Village.
From the drum to the stage to the classroom and random encounters in the street, Emile Latimer fulfilled his role in spades.
His influence on my, “me-ness” is so ingrained in everything I have done over the last 15 years and everything I do now. To say he was a mentor and a father figure would just be the tip of ‘it’.
And there are so many stories and experiences that not even the infinity of social media has the room. But my greatest moment with Papa was basically as an observer, when his wife passed:
I had always heard the phrase “celebrate the life of….” But it wasn’t until that ‘celebration’ service in honor of his wife, that I realized the power of the spirit and rhythms of togetherness. It was my first encounter with The Source as an adult. It was the most beautifully visual and sonically vibrating thing I had ever experienced then and since.
All officers of the service were adorned in flowing vibrant garb and at least 20 drummers surrounded the sanctuary at the UU and through this constant beat of mourning, celebration and message – you could physically feel her soul lift to wherever she was going.
If my life leads me to be a fraction of the Muse and man, he was, I’d consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate.
Emile Latimer will be missed deeply in Buffalo, though his mark will remain.
Photo: Cheryl Gorski (Fashion Maniac)