What freedom is… Nina Simone

This is one of the best films available on Netflix. I’m reposting, as a friend of mine saw it recently and was just as profoundly shaken and stirred by it. Totally absorbing.

Comma And

Last night I more or less idly began watching a documentary on Netflix about Nina Simone – and was right from the start transfixed by her words: “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me – no fear!”

From those opening comments in “What happened to you Miss Simone?” I was glued to the screen.  One of the words most used by the singer herself is “compelling” – and it fits her appearances.

Musically, she is electrifying: confident, powerful, emotional, unpredictable, distinctive.  Like all great artists in any genre (and this is something someone needs to tell warbly teenage wannabe popstars)

  • she inherited powerful art skills through her family (literature words and performance as her mother was a Bible preacher)
  • has invested depth into her art by years of studying and acquiring classical technique (classical piano study),
  • responding to her times and national culture (Civil Rights),
  • bringing in her most personal…

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How Lyrics work – by Carly Simon

The now-defunct online magazine, Doubletake, printed a short but very good article on lyric writing, by Carly Simon, the hugely popular song writer. Amazingly, at one point she was so discouraged about her apparent lack of success with songwriting, that she decided to give up on that career.  However, on her ferry trip home, a …

“An unusual degree of understanding…

... among people who had just met."  (Paul Simon, summing up the album, Graceland) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b007b6hv/classic-albums-paul-simon-graceland Paul Simon and many of the musicians speak in this one-hour documentary - about the making of the now-classic album "Graceland", which sold 14 million copies.  An interesting insight into an unusual way of working - collecting music from another culture, halfway …