Thursday, February 21, 2013

High Priestess of Soul

Nina Simone, High Priestess of Soul
Nina Simone was born on February 21, 1933

When I began appreciating jazz, blues, and soul music, I wasn't very interested in the music of Nina Simone. First, her vocal style seemed too "cool" or "mellow" for my tastes, a bit too understated. Where I was listening for vocal gymnastics, she would deliver pauses and gradual modulation of notes. When I wanted staccato flourishes of scat improvisation, she would segue into spoken word.

Therefore, I was not very enthusiastic over the works of Nina Simone.

Later, when I was forming my feelings towards "authenticity" of performance in classical music, specifically the role of the performer as "re-creator" of a work, rather than "historical reenactor" or impersonator, my attention returned to Simone's works, as a modern example of how a performer can creatively reinterpret a piece creating a new experience and entering into an aesthetic dialogue with past performances. From this perspective, I finally realized her great talent.

Nina Simone did things her way. When she performed a piece, she channeled it through her own unique artistry, shaped by her distinct life experiences and colored by her personal interests and emotions. Each song was created anew through her interpretation.

I am now quite the enthusiast of Nina Simone. ;-)

So, let's celebrate her birth date with a bit of music.

Here are a few vids:

"My Baby Just Cares for Me"

"Wild Is the Wind"

"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

"My Way"

"I Put a Spell on You"


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