Nina Simone

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Nina Simone

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

nina simone

Ms. Simone

nina simone

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4 Responses to “the Nina Simone page!:OUR BLACK QUEEN MOTHER OF BEAUTY!”

  1. Fab Says:

    She’s fantastic

  2. BigHRD2 Says:

    I’ve heard about her music, she was a great jazz singer that had
    somewhat a bluesy style.

  3. Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:


    Nigerian newspaper

    Tribute to the great Nina Simone
    By Benson Idonije

    I THINK it was Cecil Taylor, the esoteric pianist who said: “If Nina Simone is classified as a jazz musician, then I am not one.” He got it all wrong. Taylor, who was himself plagued throughout his career by attempts at labelling, was known for his hostility, pride, rudeness and poor public relations image.

    The truth of the matter is that, of all the major singers of the 20th Century, Nina Simone is one of the hardest to classify. Even though she recorded extensively, she could not be pigeonholed; she could not be put in any specific bag; she was versatile.

    I think that this great attribute put her in a class by herself because in all her life, she was always sought-after and her music and concerts all sold out.

    Nina reached out brilliantly with soulful qualities in whatever materials she interpreted; she loaded every word with deep emotion and feeling. These qualities are among her strongest virtues.

    The fact that she was able to sing anything and her performances were anchored on a variety that did not make her predictable might have robbed her of mass appeal, but the posture also kept her relevant, especially with the elevated and enlightened audience-which was jazz inclined.

    Singer, pianist, arranger, composer, Nina Simone was one of those rare artistes whose music defied categorisation. As a mark of versatility and musicianship, she performed every aspect of music with equal capability and accomplishment, be it pop, folk, gospel, rhythm and blues, jazz, or even classical music, most of which was rooted in African music.

    With a long career span that began from 1954, when she took a job in an Irish bar in Atlanta City, New Jersey, singing and playing the piano, she performed till her death in April 2003. In the 1950s, Eunice Waymon who changed her name to Nina “little one” Simone (From the French actress, Simone Signoret) recorded her first tracks for the Bethlehem label. These were remarkable displays of her talents as a pianist, singer, arranger and composer. Songs such as Plain gold ring, Don’t smoke in bed, and Little blue girl, soon became standards in her repertoire.

    Nina shot into the limelight with the initial release of one song, I love you, Porgy, from the opera, Porgy and Bess. The night club singer instantly became a star and now began to perform at Town hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Newport Jazz Festival. As well her own originals and African chants, Nina came across with jazz standards, folk songs of diverse, origins, classical music, pop, gospel and spirituals.

    Referred to as the ‘High priestess of soul’, and the Queen of African rooted classical music, Nina has identified with almost all the musical phases and eras of her time. In the late 1960s to the 1970s during the soul era, she contributed a number of hits, which she sang from her own original standpoint. As a result, she attracted the attention of serious music listeners and jazz devotees. When she sang the blues, it was from her own individual perspective – in a style that was rooted in folk and gospel. When she did any jazz standard, it was from the deep recesses of her soul. This gift of being able to give deeper dimensions to songs, resulted in remarkable version of Aint no/I got life from the musical “Hair”; Leonard Colhen’s Suzanne; Bee Gees songs such as To love somebody; the classic My way, done in an up tempo; Just like Tom Thumb’s blues and four other Bob Dylan songs.

    This gift also culminated in her record, Emergency ward. She set up an atmosphere that left no illusion and no escape as she performed two long versions of George Harrison’s songs, My sweet Lord (To which she added a David Nelson poem, Today is a killer) and Isn’t it a pity.

    Nina however escaped from everything eventually, when she felt she had been manipulated. Disgusted with record companies, show business and racism, she left the United States of American in 1974 for Barbados. During the following years, she lived in Liberia, Switzerland, Paris, the Netherlands and finally the South of France, where she spent the later part of her life.

    In 1978, a long awaited new record was released, Baltimore, containing the definite rendition of Judy Colin’s My father and an hypnotising Everything must change. Her next album, Fedder on wings, was recorded in Paris in 1962 and was based on her self-imposed exile from the USA.

    More than ever determined to make her own music, Nina wrote, adapted and arranged the songs, played the piano, and harpsichord and sang in English and French. The 1988 CD re-released of this album included some bonus tracks like her extraordinary version of Alone Again Naturally, reminiscing her father’s death.

    In 1984, one of her concerts at Ronnie Scotts in London was filmed, resulting in a captivating video featuring Paul Robeson on drums. A song from her very first record My baby just cares for me became a huge hit and Nina’s back was not only the title of a new album, her concerts would take her all over the world again.

    In 1989, she contributed to Pete Townshend’s The iron man. In 1990, she recorded with Bethania and in 1991 with Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba of South Africa whose music had evolved at the time and had reached a high level of artistic creativity. That same year, I put a spell on you, her autobiography was published. It was translated into French and German.

    Nina’s stay in France as musical base was rewarding and fulfilling, away from problems of racism and manipulations that drove her from the United States. She 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 toured the world, sang with Latin superstar Rafael, participated in two Disney theatre workshops, playing the title role “Aida” and “Nala” in the Lion king.

    On July 24, 1998, Nina 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 Honourary Citizenship to Atlanta, the Diamond Award for Excellence in music from the Association of African American Music in Philadelphia, and the honourable Mustkether Award from the Campagnie des Monsquetaires d’ Armagnac in France.

    Perhaps the oldest surviving female jazz singer of her time, Nina’s approach and style were unique. They would not be easily copied. But she was able to influence such great musicians as Joan Armatrading and Tracey Champman. She has also influenced Nigeria’s Asa. These three, not only imbibed the tradition of accompanying their singing with the guitar, they have become influenced by the unusual approach and dimension to songs.

    Nina’s repertoire is profound while her recorded works are vast, varied and endless. She recorded everything from pop and gospel to jazz and classical. The Diva who was an Honorary Doctor in Music and Humanities had an unrivalled legendary status as one of the very last “griots.” She was the ultimate songstress and storyteller of her time.

    As a mark of honour and recognition, Nina was celebrated in Nigeria by the American Embassy in Nigeria – in April 2003. The event, which took place at Jazzville, Yaba Lagos, was grand and colourful. It featured two of Nigeria’s foremost jazz musicians-Peter King and Yinka Davies.

    © 2003 – 2009 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Rights Reserved).
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