kat himmel | curious thing
history through portraiture
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lady's days

lady's days

from 35.00

#art/#history: in 1939, billie holiday - who was born eleanora fagan on this day in 1915 - kickstarted the civil rights movement with the release of her recording of 'strange fruit'. it remains one of the most gripping, haunting indictments of racism across all artistic disciplines. only billie could inhabit a song like that. she's been criticised for her lack of depth & range, but she told a story with the texture in her voice. she could make you feel every word & nuance. that's worth a thousand beyonces or mariah careys. you don't need to throw your lungs all over the shop like an olympic gymnast. billie instinctively recognised this. ray ellis, who worked with her on her penultimate record ('lady in satin') said that he wasn't impressed by her performance of 'i'm a fool to want you'. it had brought billie to tears, but ray thought she should give it another go...until he stopped to listen to her final take with his emotions rather than with a technical ear. it was then that he realised she'd sung it perfectly. lady day brought love, heartbreak, sorrow, rage & sensuality to life because she experienced them in such abundance during her short time in this world.

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