Thursday, December 4, 2008

Odetta, in memorium

The first and only time I saw Odetta in concert was at a New Year's Eve party at the Earl of Old Town on Chicago's near-north side many years ago. It was a memorable occasion for two reasons: I had never heard a voice with that degree of power, majesty and control before. It was also my first call and response session. The crowd was the usual assortment of Chicago folkies (I went with my father who introduced me to folk music early in life) and it was a mixed crowd both in age and ethnicity. But we were unified by this amazing woman's presence. I have, over the years, purchased and listened to her music, but never without returning to that seminal experience. And I have never doubted the power of one person and a guitar. She will be missed, but she will live on, and perhaps in greater scale and fame as death often achieves for artists.

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