in memoriam

Austin music community remembers Nané frontman Daniel Sahad with benefit concert

Austin music community remembers Nané frontman Daniel Sahad

Daniel Sahad
The memorial concert for local musician Daniel Sahad will take place on May 6 at Empire Garage. Courtesy of Empire Garage

On April 11, news broke of Austin singer-songwriter Daniel Sahad’s sudden death at age 29, halting daily goings-on across the local music community. Nané, Sahad’s soulful R&B band, was poised in many Austinites' estimation to be the next big group coming out of the city. Four days earlier, April 7, was the first official “Nané Day,” as proclaimed by the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department.

This Friday, May 6, artists and fans of the Austin music scene are coming together at Empire Garage to celebrate Sahad’s life and legacy. On the lineup are local artists BLK Odyssy, Animals on TV, Sir Woman, Quentin And The Past Lives, James Robinson, The Bright Light Social Hour, and “special guests.” Black Fret co-founder Matt Ott will join to emcee.

The concert benefits the Daniel Sahad memorial fund, which is displaying over $38,000 raised on spotfund by the afternoon of May 2.

Nané, founded by Sahad and guitarist Ian Green at The University of Texas at Austin, borrowed its name from Sahad himself: an endearing title from family in the Dominican Republic. Against funky instrumentals, the singer’s vocal performance wandered, sometimes breathy, sometimes percussive, and sometimes with gut-punching grandeur.

Onstage, the performance was even more full of character. When Nané played the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2021, Sahad wore two embroidered sets — white pants and a blazer, and a jumpsuit in black and neon green — with long fringe under the arms or across the torso that swung around with his wild hair as he twirled and strutted in the heat. He always danced through performances, acting out lyrics and alternating between effortful grimaces and wide smiles.

More than these mesmerizing performances, Sahad was known for his supportive attitude that reached creatives across the city. Of over 700 commenters on the Instagram announcement, many — especially other musicians — remembered his energy, light, and kindness. Some recounted seeing Sahad perform or meeting him only once, and being struck by his immediate openness to making new friends.

The memorial concert on May 6 at Empire Garage runs from 6 pm-1 am. RSVP (suggested $10 donation) at empireatx.com. Additional donations are being collected on spotfund.