odetta, the folk singer that influenced luminaries such as harry belafonte and bob dylan, died yesterday in new york city.
""What distinguished her from the start was the meticulous care with which she tried to re-create the feeling of her folk songs; to understand the emotions of a convict in a convict ditty, she once tried breaking up rocks with a sledge hammer," Time magazine wrote in 1960. "She is a keening Irishwoman in `Foggy Dew,' a chain-gang convict in `Take This Hammer,' a deserted lover in `Lass from the Low Country,'" Time wrote.
Odetta called on her fellow blacks to "take pride in the history of the American Negro" and was active in the civil rights movement. When she sang at the March on Washington in August 1963, "Odetta's great, full-throated voice carried almost to Capitol Hill," The New York Times wrote."
i happen to be interested in family trees, although i prefer the german word "stammbaum" because for me it has more of a sense of origin not just via blood. odetta was part of one of my favourites: dan bern by bob dylan by odetta by woody guthrie by leadbelly. i know there are myriad branches ... this is how i see it today!
associated press obit here