Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Odetta, freedom's voice, dies at 77

Remembering the "Queen of American folk music"

Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died on Tuesday. She was 77.

Odetta was one of the most influential folk artists of the past 50 years, influencing Janis Joplin and Joan Baez and inspiring Bob Dylan's early decision to trade his electric guitar for an acoustic. Performing alongside Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte, Odetta's work for the American civil rights movement led Martin Luther King Jr to dub her the "queen of American folk music".

Stories surfaced recently about the singer's illness. Reportedly, she had hoped to be well enough to perform, as scheduled, at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009, as the New York Times reports.

Related: Odetta-The Last Word

YouTube: Odetta sings with Tennessee Ernie Ford


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Stephen Bess said...

I love her voice. She was a great and beautiful woman. God bless and rest her soul.

Deb S. said...

Stephen: I was a small child when I first heard Odetta. I love her voice, too.

Dr. Deb said...

I remember listening to her as a little girl. Wow, so sad she is gone.