Continuing the legacies of Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta
RISASI DAIS Special to the AmNews | 5/31/2013, 11:36 a.m.
In recent years, the music world lost three of the most talented, powerful and socially conscious Afrocentric female singers: South African singer Miriam Makeba; prolific poet, songwriter and jazz singer Abbey Lincoln; and folk/blues singer and activist Odetta.
In keeping the spirits and profound music of these fabulous women alive, world-renowned singers Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright embarked upon a musical production titled "Sing the Truth" to continue the legacy of these musical heroines.
The initial production of "Sing the Truth" began as a JVC Jazz Festival production at Carnegie Hall in 2004 celebrating the music of Nina Simone on the first anniversary of her death. In 2008 and 2009, that show became a touring production, with sold-out performances worldwide at such renowned venues as the Barbican Centre in London, Jazz Vienne in France, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, the Sidney Opera House in Australia, the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada and Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival.
A recent Sunday afternoon performance of "Sing the Truth" at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark was the final performance of the year of this amazing musical concert production.
The amazing trio highlights the legacy of the recently departed legends and performs songs by an array of other great women of music such as Clara Ward, Aretha Franklin, Tracy Chapman and Ani DiFranco. In addition, the talented trio also sang some of their own songs, which mesmerized and electrified the NJPAC audience during the two-hour concert.
"Sing the Truth" featured an all-star ensemble band that included acclaimed jazz pianist Geri Allen on piano and keyboards, music director Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, James Genus on bass, Romero Lubambo on guitars and Munyungo Jackson on percussion. This magnificent concert was produced by Danny Kapilian.
Collectively, Reeves, Kidjo and Wright sang songs together in great harmony and at times sang as solo lead vocalists, constantly generating loud applause and many standing ovations. In fact, "Sing the Truth" was one of the greatest and most entertaining concerts of 2011, and will hopefully continue in 2012, honoring the legacy of many musical heroines who are gone but whose great music has enriched the world.