Well, I did say poems, books and music (not just poems... it's never just poems for me...) so today's all American favourite is the marvellous, the magical, the mesmerising.... Miss Nina Simone (1933-2003).
We listen to quite a lot of Nina Simone music in this house but with the BBC Radio 2 documentary that's been on recently (narrated by her daughter, now singing under the name Simone...) this fantastic artist has been on my mind even more than usual. She really was a HUGE talent (one of the twentieth century's stand-out greats) and these days most people know that (which does show that sometimes we get it right!). Listening to the documentary (which doesn't tell you anything particularly new but does get some nice insights from close friends and family) I realised how much I loved her version of the song below. She sings it so gently and with such strength of feeling that it just stops you in your tracks. I think her appeal is largely due to the combination of overwhelming talent (has anyone ever played a piano with more understanding..?) and giant emotional range (in the programme her drummer Paul Robinson refers to her, lovingly, as 'organically deranged'...).
Song credits - music by George Gershwin and lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.
Another thing the Nina Simone documentary made me realise (that I suppose I already knew but had never really considered) - if it hadn't been for the racism that kept Eunice Waymon from progressing as a straightforward classical pianist we, the wider public, might never have known Nina Simone and her amazing, life-changing repertoire of popular songs. Something to ponder, for sure.
p.s. This may be the end of this (very short) series. I mean, how the heck do you follow Nina?
San Juan and Masca
1 hour ago