Tag Archives: Nina Simone

Fenne Lily: Gold On Hold

“‘On Hold’ was written as a thank you for the warmth of the world when I was at my lowest, and I wanted the video that accompanied it to be a raw representation of this gratitude. While I realise that roller-skating through central London giving flowers to strangers isn’t particularly cool, random acts of kindness are – ultimately, being nice is underrated. This video is the definition of DIY – it was filmed by a mate of mine who followed me through the city on a skateboard and I edited it all myself, having never done anything of the kind before. It makes me smile to watch, and dorky as it is, I feel this video communicates a joy that often goes untold.”

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Change One Small Thing, Change Everything

How to cover a famous English song like Can’t Get No Satisfaction and make it your own? It’s Mick Jagger’s voice that your audience will hear, as the opening chords set their memories alight.

Do a tango version or sing it as a waltz; it doesn’t matter. Your audience have Mick in their ears. What if you snatch just one tiny word from the chorus and shake it out of Mick’s reach?

Listen to Mercury Prize shortlisted ESKA bending Mick Jagger’s no into a shape all her own, to call her audience to attention:

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Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair

How do you reclaim a colour that has been used against you as an insult? You take it and you warm it by breathing love into it.

In the traditional Scottish song Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair, the choice of black as opposed to brown or grey gives a slight boost of exotic ‘gypsy’ passion to the true love. That’s all. Red would have done the trick just as easily.

Truly (natural) black or red hair is unusual and eye-catching. It sounds special, implying some exceptional quality to the singer too, for having captured the love of such a rare creature.

For Nina Simone and Emile Latimer, in 1960s America, black was much, much, much more than a hair colour. How do they infuse the word with the love it deserves? Like this:

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The ‘Only Things’ a Gambler Needs? Chocolate Chips.

Like chocolate chips in a cookie, hard sounds sprinkled into smooth music attract attention. Imagine a sudden 15 seconds of pizzicato cellos in the middle of a lilting waltz. You’d notice them, wouldn’t you? You’d wonder what they ‘meant.’

What do you think the 15 seconds of hard consonants: suitcase, drunk and trunk, ‘mean’, in among the rounded sounds of House of the Rising Sun?  Who’s talking? Who’s he talking about? There’s deep sadness in a son who names the ‘only things’ his own father needs, without including himself. Eric Burdon doesn’t need to emphasise the hard consonants. Your emotional antennae pick them up:

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