Odetta: The Voice of a Movement Sings No More

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From the New York Times: Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died on Tuesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager. He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Odetta sang at coffeehouses and at Carnegie Hall, made highly influential recordings of blues and ballads, and became one of the most widely known folk-music artists of the 1950s and ’60s. She was a formative influence on dozens of artists, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.

Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”

“They were liberation songs,” she said in a videotaped interview with The New York Times in 2007 for its online feature “The Last Word.” “You’re walking down life’s road, society’s foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can’t get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die, or insist upon your life.”



Comments [8]

Sabrina's picture

You are so very lucky to have

You are so very lucky to have been in her presence!

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Such a gentle, amazing

Such a gentle, amazing soul.....God blessed us with her
graciousness.
And now, she is with our glorious father.

Rest in Peace....
LBDL
xxoo

Kelly McCartney's picture

She was a definite presence.

She was a definite presence. A gentle, powerful, lovely presence. I had the honor of giving her a ride to her hotel once in LA. It's one of those moments that you try to inscribe into your memory as it's happening because you know it's monumental.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

minniesota's picture

I heard the news this

I heard the news this morning. I first heard of Odetta in the late 1960s.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

rovermom's picture

tears in my eyes. rest in

tears in my eyes.

rest in peace, Mama, rest in peace - and thank you...

rovermom's picture

rest in peace mama, rest in

rest in peace mama, rest in peace - and than you...

Tex's picture

http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v

lmz's picture

http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v