07 December 2008

R.I.P. Odetta.

One of the most important voices in American history has died.

People often use the phrase 'voice of an angel' to descirbe whatever twee white woman is deploying some tasteful melisma over strings and dispassionate tunefulness.

I call bullshit.

There are several voices that I feel manage to encompass the breadth of divinity and still express what mortality means to us as human beings- Diamanda Galas, certainly. Antony Hegarty, pretty much. But there is no one who ever put the expanse of the human experience into song like Odetta James.

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