REMEMBRANCE: I Miss You, For True! (Happy Birthday, Nina Simone)
Yesterday, eighty years ago, Eunice Kathleen Waymon was born to John Divine and Mary Kate Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. The Sixth of eight children. Years later, the world would know Eunice Waymon as Nina Simone, THE HIGH PRIESTESS OF SOUL.
Many describe Nina as "an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music," though jazz was far from all she did...and Nina loathed being labeled a jazz musician. And rightfully so because she was so much more!
Rather than sit here and wax poetic about Madame Simone, in celebration of her birthday I'm going to share five videos that stand out as defining moments for who Nina is to me! Hope you dig them!
In no particular order: (click through links to videos)
Nina Simone - Pirate Jenny, Live in 1964. The first song I ever heard by Nina was 'Pirate Jenny.' I was asleep in the backseat of the car, heading home with my parents, iPod in my ear. I woke up midway through the song, and laid, frozen, in the backseat. That woman's voice grabbed me by the throat and commanded my attention. And anyone who knows her interpretation of 'Pirate Jenny' knows how chilling it is. That ending sent shivers down my spine!
Nina Simone interviewed in France: "I'm not very happy." The first time I saw this moment unfold before my eyes, I was struck by Nina's vulnerable and raw honesty. I was so used to her power and strength, so this shocked me. I think it's a beautifully human moment, though. It revealed a part of Nina that a lot of us hadn't seen.
Nina Simone, "Feelings" (Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival). My piano teacher in high school gave me this concert on DVD as a gift. Nina was in rare form this evening, and this particular song showcases so many things at once. Again, a vulnerable Nina takes to the stage, and lays it all out in the open. Only this time she is met with a less than receptive audience that squanders an opportunity to have a spiritual experience beyond compare with the High Priestess of Soul. "Well c'mon, clap! Dammit. What's wrong with you?"
Nina Simone "Freedom" Interview. In this interview, Nina answers the question "What's "free" mean to you?" and her answer is out of this world! The rest of the interview is groovy too!
Nina Simone's interview for BBC's Hard Talk. This one speaks for itself!
Happy birthday, Nina! REST IN POWER.
2.21.33 - 4.21.03