kat himmel | curious thing
history through portraiture

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odetta gratitude

odetta gratitude

from 30.00

'if you can't fly, run. if you can't run, walk. tell them there won't be no resignation. if you can't walk, crawl to the polls & vote your determination. any old way you can make it, baby, you keep on movin' on.'

#art/#history: we all ::cheesly pun klaxon:: owe a debt of gratitude to this outspoken human being. alabama born but california bred, she had operatic training from the age of 13. that's pretty evident when you listen to her pipes. her self-doubt prevented her from pursuing a career as a mezzo-soprano & odetta (born #otd in 1930) & she took up a role as an ensemble member for the turnabout puppet theatre (alongside elsa lanchester, of all people). 1950 proved to be magical. she fell in love with the san francisco balladeers & set her sights on folk music. jazz was her gateway drug & she recorded a couple of fairly standard albums in that style, all the while acting in films (& i recommend odetta’s strong & compassionate performance in the 1961 adaptation of william faulkner’s ‘sanctuary’). 1968 really turned the tide. once she'd performed a barnstormer of a set at woody guthrie's memorial show, odetta focussed on writing & performing music that would motivate people toward social change. she embraced the civil & human rights movements so passionately that she became known as 'the voice of the civil rights movement'. she utterly beguiled the biggies of folk (bob dylan & joan baez), rock (janis joplin) & activism (rosa parks). if you've never listened to much of her stuff - especially if you don't classify yourself as a folk fiend - please spin 1970's 'odetta sings' & see if she doesn’t captivate you, too.

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