Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Odetta, the first lady of folk

Odetta. The First Lady Of Folk. Unfortunately, not many people would know who she was and it would take her death to make people appreciate her stature. My first exposure to Odetta's music was in the late 1960s through Harry Belafonte's landmark album, Returns To Carnegie Hall.

Odetta Holmes was one of the artistes introduced by Belafonte to the Carnegie Hall audience. She performed two songs: I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain and Water Boy and they left me spellbound. Of course, I was only listening to the record. Nevertheless, I was so greatly impressed by the two songs. The way she poured out her heart, the hall was so silent that the faint taps of her foot in accompaniment to her music was audible over the speakers. A really powerful performance, a really powerful voice. She was an influence on Belafonte himself.

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