Eric Levine 1957-2008
Folk musician and disability rights activist Eric Levine passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital
in New York City the night of May 7-8, 2008. The cause of death was apparently septicemia.
Eric had just recently turned 51 years old.
Eric's maternal grandfather was Norman Studer, founder of Camp Woodland near Phoenicia, New York, and Eric knew first hand many of the people from near and far away who shared their songs with the Woodland campers and staff. With that background, it is no surprise that Eric grew up to become active in New York City's progressive political folk music community. He was the musical director of the Disabled in Action Singers, one of the directors of the New York Coalition of Choruses, the producer of Topside Records, an organizer of the Hey Brother! Hey Sister! Coffee House, a contributor to Broadside magazine, a member of the People's Music Network steering committee, and a member of the Peoples' Voice Cafe collective. He was also a fine singer, songwriter, guitarist, and banjo player, as well as a member of the folk group MacDougal Street Rent Party.
Unfortunately, Eric was sick all his life. At the age of 14, he underwent the first of three kidney transplants, each of which eventually proved unsuccessful. In addition to chronic kidney failure, which required Eric to undergo dialysis three days a week, Eric suffered from amyloidosis, peripheral neuropathy, and arthritis, and was susceptible to serious infections. He was in pain most of the time, and over his final months he had lost the ability to play his musical instruments. His last featured public performance was at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City on July 8, 2007.
Eric is survived by his parents Norman and Joan Levine, his brother Mike Levine, and his life partner Ellen Nuzzi. The best way to honor Eric's memory is to continue the struggles for peace, for justice, and for human rights – and to keep on making music.
Brother Eric Levine: ¡Presente!
Photo by Takako Nagumo.