“a striking contralto voice . . . one suspects she will be heard from increasingly in the future.”–Re: Odetta in 1957, The New York Times, folkmusicarchives
One of my favorite folksingers/activists, Odetta, was born today in 1930 and died too young in 2008 a few weeks shy of President Obama’s inauguration, which she had hoped to sing at. Odetta influenced many artists: Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and so many more. The 60s were good to Odetta, she released 16 albums during that decade. She sang at the March on Washington in 1963. “On September 29, 1999, President Bill Clinton presented Odetta with the National Endowment for the Arts’ Medal of the Arts, a fitting tribute to one of the great treasures of American music.”–mtv
Odetta knew that her singing and her choice of songs to sing were educating people all over the world on the Civil Rights Movement. “I’m not a real folk singer,” she told The Washington Post in 1983. “I don’t mind people calling me that, but I’m a musical historian. I’m a city kid who has admired an area and who got into it. I’ve been fortunate. With folk music, I can do my teaching and preaching, my propagandizing.”–peteseeger.net
I wish everyone a Very Happy and Healthy and Peaceful New Year. Let your inner light shine! Peace Be With You and Your Families!