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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fully Magnificent! The Nina Simone Tribute Atlanta

I went to this awesome concert as The National Black Arts Festival ( paid tribute to Nina Simone. It was phenomenal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I have the words to express how wonderful it felt to be a part of the experience. Nina Simone was properly honoured last night. She is a legacy, a classically trained musician who composed over 500 songs whose body of work won 15 Grammies, an honorary doctorate of music, and supported the Civil Rights Movement in her songs.

The night was filled with stories of her strength and her tenderness. I really appreciated the insight from many of the people about Nina's character. For example, not only her daughter was there, but also her sister and former neighbor, the Sr. Vice President of the Coca Cola Company, Ingrid Saunders Jones.

It was definitely a night to remember. Four members of her band played. What a treat! Guitarist Al Shackman, bassist Chris White, percussionist Leopolo Fleming and British drummer Paul Robinson played as Lizz Wright, Joi, Lisa Simone Kelly (Nina Simone's daughter), and Dianne Reeves brought the house down! People had goosebumps, chills, and bursts of applause. Everyone has a night to remember. It was sold out, completely!

Lizz Wright appeared first onstage in a stunning rose and black evening gown with no shoes at all. She was stunning and definitely didn't need them. I had the perfect view sitting in the first balcony directly in the center. Lizz Wright, a sister GA native, (just listen to her astounding voice) sang a number of moving songs including "Lilac Wine" and "I Love You Porgy". If you don't have her album, you are missing a treat from a young, amazing vocalist.

Simone, appeared next, she gave a delightful rendition of "Work Song" and later a fantastic performance of "Feelin Good"

with audience participation included. Her locks were piled nicely atop her head and she looked very cat like and regal with an Afrocentric dress and wedges. She was tall and had a presence and command of the audience that went with her dynamic voice.

Atlanta's own Joi delivered my favorite "Ne Me Quitte Pas". She admirably didn't miss a single lyric. She also gave a notable performance of "To Be Young Gifted and Black". She held her own and is talented within her own right.

Dianne Reeves gave a spirited and playful performance of "Be My Husband".

The woman's voice is incredible. Se can make her voice sound soft and demure loud and powerful then both at the same time. It sounds like gospel, jazz, and blues. Then her voice sounds like it will only come from the left or then the right and turn itself into a percussion instrument and a flute the next. Wow! Just watch. This performance was not half as good as she performed at the show I went to was.

In the last performance, the four women sang "Four Women". I was not expecting to get 17 songs and 2 hours of continuous entertainment. It exceeded any expectations I had. By the way, I saw many young Sisterlocked sistahs who complemented me, awwh shucks! Must post recent pics. Also, it was the first time I've gone to a concert alone. How liberating?!

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