Diaspora Obituary

“I will keep singing in heaven” – Dylan Durias

South Border keyboardist Jay Durias performs for his deceased brother and fellow musician Dylan during a memorial at the Filipino Disciples Christian Church at Union Avenue, Los Angeles on January 26. Photo © Jason Bascon

“I will keep singing in heaven,” these words ran across the video wall as a short tribute movie for deceased musician Dylan Durias was about to end.

This happened during a memorial set up by family and friends at the historic Filipino Disciples Christian Church at Union Avenue in Los Angeles on Friday night, January 26.

Up there, maybe a voice like of that of Dylan (Oct. 21, 1980 – Jan. 15, 2018) has no chance of standing out among the multitude of angels who could probably sing better.

Well, but who knows?

But down here, where having a heavenly voice only comes as a rare gift to some mortals, Dylan’s singing would certainly be missed.

That voice hushed the rowdy noise of an inebriated crowd at a birthday party thrown for the hubby of rock ‘n roll singer Malou Toler at Josephine’s Cerritos about a week before he passed away. (Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2018/01/23/one-last-set-for-the-big-guy/)

Dylan shyly walked up to the stage and sat behind the keyboard. And as soon as he sung the first line, he had the room for himself.

For his third and last song, the crowd insisted that Dylan sing Kahit Kailan, which about a decade ago was a hit song of a Filipino pop and R&B band South Border (where his older brother Jay Durias is a keyboardist). He obliged and had the crowd yelling, “More! More! More!” But as a seasoned musician that he was, he simply smiled and walked away.

Every musician knows that it is always best to leave your crowd while still engulfed in its awe.

Dylan left many people in Los Angeles in shock over his sudden departure and grieved genuinely not only over the loss of a talent, but more so, over the loss of a great person.

Daniel Belen, owner of Bamboo Bistro, has these kind words for Dylan:

“Actually, I have not known him (Dylan) for long. But he was so easy to like. Napakabait at napaka-simpleng tao. And very talented as well. Kaya nag-boluntaryo tayo na dito gawin ang benefit concert.”

On Sunday (January 21), a benefit concert was held at Bamboo Bistro. It was led by saxophonist and original South Border member Ric Junasa and host/singer Cory Miranda.

Among those who attended the said concert, band manager Mike Moya shared Belen’s impression about Dylan.

“Kasi si Dylan, when you meet him, you’ll feel like you’ve met him for a long time. Hindi ka maiilang sa kanya. He was always smiling, very friendly to everyone,” Moya recalled.

On Wednesday (January 24), another group of musicians held a benefit concert at Josephine’s Cerritos titled: One last set for the Big Guy.

The said mini-concert was led by Malou Toler and participated by many Los Angeles-based musicians.

Jay Durias, brother of the deceased musician and keyboardist of South Border, also participated in the concert.

On that same night, there was viewing held at the Pierce Brothers Turner and Stevens Mortuary in Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel.

Dylan is not Jay

On January 18, to address a seeming confusion, Minnie Junasa (speaking on behalf of her husband Ric Junasa and who is a sister-in-law of Jay Durias) issued the following clarifications:

  • that the Los Angeles Department Medical Examiner has not yet issued a declaration that Dylan Durias has died due to a heart attack; and that any information that went public about the musician’s cause of death did not come from them.
  • that Dylan Durias was the brother of Jay Durias of the famous band South Border.
  • that while Dylan has performed with the South Border as an alternate to Jay on some occasions (the brothers had an identical voice register and body built) it was actually his brother Jay who was officially connected with the band.
  • that the current members of the South Border and its management consider Dylan as “family.”
  • during the memorial for the deceased, Minnie said there was an indication that Dylan actually died from aneurysm.

Circumstances of Dylan’s death

Dylan was with other two friends shortly after lunchtime when they went to a Filipino restaurant near the corner of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard to have a snack.

Among the plates the trio ordered were “goto” (porridge) and “tokwa’t baboy.”

Durias’ friends said they did not notice anything unusual with the musician while they were eating.

“We were even sharing our plates with one another,” recalled one of Durias’ friends.

However, after they finished their meals, Durias suddenly felt an excruciating pain on his belly as he was about to leave the table. He returned to his seat clutching his belly and asked his friends to call 911.

Dylan’s last words were: Lord, help me!

The responders came within five minutes after the call but Durias has passed out by that time.

The paramedics applied first aid to Durias and rushed him to a hospital.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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