Big Chief Bo Dollis R.I.P

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Big Chief Theodore Emile ‘Bo’ Dollis, leader of the New Orleans’ Wild Magnolias, who brought Mardi Gras Indian music to a worldwide audience, died on Tuesday (January 20) at the age of 71.

“It is with profound sadness that I must inform you of our newest ancestor. Big Chief Theodore ‘Bo’ Dollis passed this morning,” reads a message posted to the Mardi Gras Indian’s Hall of Fame’s Facebook page. “His wife, Big Queen Laurita Dollis, has requested prayers for the family and his soul at this time. Please honor her request and refrain from calls and text messages as she prepares for his public life celebration.”

Dollis was born in New Orleans in 1944 and raised in Central City. He first began singing in church but became fascinated with the Mardi Gras Indians and their costumes. After joining the tribe as a teenage, he became chief of the Wild Magnolias in 1964. Ill health forced him to hand over to to his son, Gerard ‘Bo Jr.,’ several years ago.

The Wild Magnolias performed at the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970 and later recorded several albums, including The Wild Magnolias in 1974 and They Call Us Wild in 1975.

The Wild Magnolias visited Australia and appeared at Byron Bay’s Bluesfest in 2002 as well as performing other gigs, including one at Byron’s Beach Hotel. The group also performed in London, Berlin and Nice, France as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Brian Wise

Brian Wise was the Editor of Addicted To Noise‘s Australian site from 1997 – 2002. The site won two ONYA Awards as Best Online Music Magazine in 1999 & 2000. He has also been Editor since its reincarnation in 2013. He also presents the weekly music interview program Off The Record on 102.7 Triple R-FM (rrr.org.au) in Melbourne. It is networked to 45+ stations across Australia on the Community Radio Network and is a four-time winner of the Best Music Program Award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. In 2012, it was nominated as a finalist in the Excellence in Music Programming category. Brian was also the Founding Editor & Publisher of Rhythms Magazine and is now its Senior Contributing Editor.

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