38. Singing jazz

7/02/2017 Syl's bucketlist 0 Comments



It was such a privilege to live in the same city as one of the most famous singers of the world, a civil rights activist, a woman with so many thoughts and feelings that she could understand the young woman I was.

When I told my gram I'd discovered Nina Simone lived in our city, she smiled and told me to go and talk to her. 'Maybe she's lonely as the only black woman here.', she said. 'You're one of the few here who speaks her language fluently, and people always appreciate to be able to speak in their own language when they are abroad.'
I didn't understand what a white, very white student could do to end the loneliness of such an famous person, but maybe she wanted to drink a cup of coffee with me and talk a bit.

That evening I saw her at a concert, hidden in the shadow, listening to the band.
I didn't think, but just went to her and asked her if she liked to drink a cuppa with me the next day. To my surprise she said 'yes'.
It was the beginning of a short friendship.

She taught me a lot. About the human psyche, about racial differences, and about music.

My voice was light and clear at the time. I tried to sing some jazz, but it sounded strange with such an innocent voice. We had a good laugh about it. She liked my timing, the improvisations, and she said I should be older before I could really sing it properly.
So I've always said: 'When I'm 50, I'll sing jazz.'

I did, in the silence of my home, as a tribute to Nina.
But I would love to have some good lessons.

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