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Music Talks > 2015 Spring

Music Club: Wednesday 29 April 2015 (7 pm)

Title:              An Evening with Billie Holiday: Celebrating her 100th Birth Anniversay

Facilitator:    Akram Najjar
This event consists of a series of video clips (most of them live) of Billie singing some of her greatest songs. Some she wrote and some other great writers wrote: 

  • Lover Man
  • Strange Fruit
  • All of Me
  • God Bless the Child
  • Don’t Explain
  • What a Little Moonlight Can Do
  • Miss Brown to You
  • Fine and Mellow
  • You Don’t Know What Love Is
  • Tain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do
  • Willow Weep for Me
  • Sophisticated Lady
  • One Two Button Your Shoe 

and many more.
Most of her songs last no longer than 3 minutes but have left their impact for centuries to come.

Billie Holiday (1915-1959)
Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday's songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday's poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time. Hardly there is a blues or jazz singer that has not been marked by her.

At the age of 18 and after gaining more experience than most adult musicians can claim, Holiday was spotted by John Hammond and cut her first record as part of a studio group led by Benny Goodman, who was then just on the verge of public prominence. In 1935 Holiday's career got a big push when she recorded four sides that went on to become hits, including "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Miss Brown to You." This landed her a recording contract of her own, and then, until 1942, she recorded a number of master tracks that would ultimately become an important building block of early American jazz music.

Her voice became more rugged and vulnerable on the later tracks than earlier in her career. During her later period, she toured Europe, and made her final studio recordings for the MGM label in March of 1959. Billie Holiday, a musical legend still popular today, died an untimely death at the age of 44. Her emotive voice, innovative techniques and touching songs will forever be remembered and enjoyed.
Billie sang with some of the greatest jazz performers: Lester Young, Teddy Wilson, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and many more. Diana Ross played a marvelous role as Billie in The Lady Sings the Blues singing many of Billie’s songs.

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