Last Thursday, actually Nina Simone's 80th birthday, I tossed about in my sweaty bed, driven from one edge of the frame to the other by feverish dreams, when damp showers and drizzling snow finally had knocked my immune defenses down (There more so as I just had returned from a 6-days trip to Rome). Friday seemed better, but the weekend had me down again. Now, over those last days I had ample occa-
I don't remember where I read that somebody characterized Nina Simone as »undefinable«. It sounds like a non-description, as something said for want of better terms, but if you think about it for a second or two it might just turn out to be the greatest compliment any artist could ever hope to receive. (For my part, I tried to come up, before my inner eye, with artists I wouldn't know how to define for their sheer breadth of achievement and talent, and I couldn't come up with more than a handful.)
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Second, the LP that comes under this cover is a string of masterpieces from the beginning to the end. But there is one song in particular which translates the visual art of the cover shot into a magical sound experience. The song is called Dambala (after a Voodoo deity; the song was written and first performed by Bahamas-born musician Exuma in 1970). I personally feel that this song comes nearest to summing up Nina's being (if that were ever possible). And it shows her, by the way, as the great great pianist she was. And a lot things more. Thanks for everything, Nina!
Nina Simone: »Dambala« from the RCA LP It Is Finished (1974):