Monday, November 23, 2009

MM: Honoring Nina Simone - High Priestess of Soul

Nina Simone is one of our most favorite singers. she is usually included in the playlist on BadGalsRadio weekly. this is a beautiful Live video of Nina performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival; after she had begun her first tour of  France.

Knowing that she had a long career ahead of her, Nina decided to leave the racial prejudice of the US entertainment industry behind in the 70's. this was just as she was reaching the height of her musical career. instantly she became an international sensation, as soon as she began her tour of the european music scene. she would spend time in Barbados, Africa and eventually she settled in France. she recorded sporadically, but it was always superb.

the fact that she's sampled by todays artists as much as James Brown; attests to her legendary status. clearly everyone from Kanye West to Lil Wayne has used samples from Nina Simone;  without ever acknowledging her contributions.  her music is undeniably timeless which is why it will remain a part of our catalogs, always.

I'm sure that everyone remembers that timeless Chanel Number Five Commercial using "My Baby Just Cares For Me". it shows you just how classy and timeless her music really is.

Enjoy the Lyrics that launched a career

Four Women - Nina simone

My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is wooly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
It’s been inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is aunt sarah
My name is aunt sarah

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is saffronia
My name is saffronia

My skin is tan
My hair’s alright, it’s fine
My hips invite you
And my lips are like wine
Whose little girl am i?
Well yours if you have some money to buy
What do they call me
My name is sweet thing
My name is sweet thing

My skin is brown
And my manner is tough
I’ll kill the first mother I see
Cos my life has been too rough
I’m awfully bitter these days
Because my parents were slaves
What do they call me

February 21, 1933 - April 21, 2003
Singer - Pianist - Arranger - Composer
Honorary Doctor in Music and Humanities
High Priestess of Soul
Queen of African Rooted Classical Music

(Parts are Clipped from the Bio by Roger Nupie)
Eunice Waymon was born in Tryon, North Carolina as the sixth of seven children in a poor family. The child prodigy played piano at the age of four. With the help of her music teacher, who set up the "Eunice Waymon Fund", she could continue her general and musical education. She studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York.

To support her family financially, she started working as an accompanist. In the summer of 1954 she took a job in an Irish bar in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The bar owner told her she had to sing as well. Without having time to realize what was happening, Eunice Waymon, who was trained to become a classical pianist, stepped into show business. She changed her name into Nina ("little one") Simone ("from the French actress Simone Signoret").

Nina married and had a beautiful daughter who continues the family legacy, as a fabulous jazz singer.

Nina was the highlight of the Nice Jazz Festival in France in 1997, the Thessalonica Jazz Festival in Greece in 1998. At the Guinness Blues Festival in Dublin, Ireland in 1999 her daughter, Lisa Celeste, performing as "Simone", sang a few duets with her mother. Simone has toured the world, sung with Latin superstar Rafael, participated in two Disney theatre workshops, playing the title role in Aida and Nala in The Lion King. She is currently working on her upcoming debut album, "Simone Superstar".

On July 24, 1998 Nina Simone was a special guest at Nelson Mandela's 80th Birthday Party. On October 7, 1999 she received a Lifetime Achievement in Music Award in Dublin.

In 2000 she received Honorary Citizenship to Atlanta (May 26), the Diamond Award for Excellence in Music from the Association of African American Music in Philadelphia (June 9) and the Honorable Musketeer Award from the Compagnie des Mousquetaires d'Armagnac in France (August 7).

Dr. Simone passed away after a long illness at her home in her villa in Carry-le-Rouet (South of France) on April 21, 2003. As she had wished, her ashes were spread in different African countries.
The Diva, who was as well an Honorary Doctor in Music and Humanities, has an unrivalled legendary status as one of the very last 'griots". She is and will forever be the ultimate songstress and storyteller of our times.

The documentary Nina Simone: La Legende (The Legend) was made in the '90s by French filmmakers.It was based on her autobiography I Put A Spell On You and features live footage from different periods of her career, interviews with friends and family, various interviews with Simone herself while she was living in the Netherlands, and on a trip to her birthplace. A significant amount of footage from The Legend was taken from an earlier 26-minute biographical documentary by Peter Rodis, released in 1969 and titled simply Nina.

Plans for a Nina Simone biographical film were released at the end of 2005. The movie will be based on Simone's autobiography I Put A Spell On You (1992) and will also focus on her relationship in later life with her assistant, Clifton Henderson, who died in 2006. TV writer Cynthia Mort (Will & Grace, Roseanne) is working on the script, and singer Mary J. Blige will play the lead role. The movie is scheduled for 2012.

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RE Ausetkmt said...

"aaahhhhhhhhh put a spell on youuuuu"
when I hear her say those words it seems to have a mystical effect on me triggering an extreme neosoul craving. Yes Dr Simone, You Put a Spell On ME.

ONE of THE GUYS said...

A great tribute RE!

One sad, but interesting note. Even though jazz is America's music, ever since the bebop era it's never been accepted here the way it's been accepted in Europe. Many of my colleagues tour throughout Europe during the summers to sold out and enthusiastic crowds, while here they often play to a handful of patrons.

RE Ausetkmt said...

Hey Guys !
You got it. my artists tour the us - rarely. they are caribbean based, and tour europe, asia and africa. south america is coming up and the real new trend is to drop your piece in london, then tour it finally ending in the us small stage arena.
basically because of the same reasons, small crowds and poor promoting.

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said... rock, I love Nina Simone. Sinner Man is one of my all time favorite songs.

RE Ausetkmt said...

Aaahhhh Alicia, I knew you were a classy chica. sinner man is on the playlist this week on so stop over and see if you can catch some NINA !

Angelika said...

I only ever heard of Nina Simone when I was watching that movie with Bridget Fonda and she was turned from a criminal to a spy. I can't remember the name of the movie.

Anyway, the character's favorite singer was Nina Simone. I don't think I'd ever seen a picture of her until now. :-)

RE Ausetkmt said...

Angelika - do you like Jazz ?
you may also remember her singing from that Chanel No.5 commercial where she sings "My Baby Just Cares For Me". it was a classic. her version of "Young Gifted and Black" is the definitive version. there are so many songs that she's done and claimed as her own -"I put a Spell On You". that's another of her really big ones.

just for you angelika, next week we'll feature a player of her greatest hits. surely then you'll get a few new favs.

do you know Dame Shirley Bassey ?

Nancy said...

Love Nina Simone, such a hauntingly lovely and beautiful voice, her uniqueness makes her special!