Tuesday, July 28

"black is the color of my true love's hair" (1959): nina simone

The enigmatic "high priestess of soul", Ms. Nina Simone gave the world light for over 50 years. Her musical career began at the age of four in little Tryon, North Carolina tailing behind her evangelist mother, Rev. Mary Kate Waymon. Her community started a fund in her name to attend musical school, and as she journeyed to Julliard among many stops, the world finally stop and paid attention in 1958 when she covered, "I Love You, Porgy" after being discovered singing in bars in Atlantic City. In 1959, she performed at the Town Hall in New York City and released the performance as a live album. Her performance, of "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" is indeed a timeless classic , it embodies all the elements that made Nina Simone the "high priestess of soul". Her voice, her skillful use of the piano, as well as her artistic use of silence. After this album Nina Simone went on to produce hits such as "I Want a Little Sugar in Bowl", "I Put a Spell on You", and the one time black national anthem, "Young, Gifted, and Black". She was also deeply involved in the protest tradition of the time and released songs such as "Brown Baby" and "Go Limp, Old Jim Crow." A good friend of Miriam "Mama Africa" Makeba, Simone left the US forever in 1974, disgusted with her record deal and the racial climate. She spent time in Liberia, Barbados, before recording more albums and making her transition in 2003 in the south of France. The testament to her enduring legacy can be found on the pages of her autobiography, I Put A Spell On You , released in 1993 and most noticeably in the music of today's soul stars.

Nina Simone "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" (1959)

Nina Simone "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" Verve Remix

(Nina Simone video after the jump)

Nina Simone - I wish I knew how it would feel to be free from Ambroise Kritz on Vimeo.