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Nina Simone, pianist and performer

The Story


No American musician is more closely aligned with the U.S. civil rights movement than Nina Simone. Her music, brought to life by her deep voice and skill and sensitivity on the piano, sits on the axis between jazz and folk with a gospel and classical background. In this 1974 interview with Martin Bronstein for CBC Radio, Simone explains what she brings to the stage as a performer, what has influenced her as a musician and whether jazz can only be played by, in the language of the day, the American Negro.

Medium: Radio
Broadcast Date: Nov. 3, 1974
Program: The Entertainers
Interviewer: Martin Bronstein
Guest: Nina Simone
Duration: 26:30
Photo: Jazz singer Nina Simone is shown in London on Dec. 5, 1968.
Credit: The Canadian Press

Did You know?


• Nina Simone was born Eunice Waymon in South Carolina in 1933, but changed her name in 1954 when she began playing piano in an Atlantic City supper club -- because, she said, she didn't want her mother finding out.

• According to the New Yorker, she began piano lessons at age five. At 11, as she prepared to give a recital in the town library, her parents were asked to give up their front-row seats for a white couple. Eunice stood and announced she would not play until they got their seats back.

• In 1974, the year of this interview, Simone left the United States. She lived in Liberia with her daughter for two years and eventually settled in France.


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