Farewell Odetta

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Legendary folk singer and human rights activist Odetta died today at the age of 77. The influential artist inspired countless people throughout her lifetime and career, notably Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez. Click to watch classic footage Odetta performing at the Newport Festival.

I had the chance to interview her over the phone for Uptown Magazine nearly a decade ago. I'd grown up with her music and met her when I was about four years old. It felt a bit weird just calling her at home. She was a formidable interviewee, so I brought up my childhood anecdote about meeting her (apparently, I have her a vehement anti-smoking lecture) hoping to impress her with my reverential memory. Didn't work. Then again, she had other things to remember, like being named "The Queen of American folk music" by Martin Luther King, Jr.

She was an incredible performer and will definitely be missed. Click to watch a Odetta performing in 2005 of "House of the Rising Sun."


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