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Billie Holiday

by: Riona Corr

Riona Corr

on 15 October 2011

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Transcript of Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday:
A Great American Artist By: Riona Corr The Harlem Renaissance "Return to the Native"

Harlem is vicious
Modernism. BangClash.
Vicious the way it's made,
Can you stand such beauty.
So violent and transforming.

-Amiri Baraka
(LeRoi Jones) Billie Holiday's Life "Billie Holiday created roles through her music, [facing] the world not as a victim, but as a towering hero. She managed to find a power more rare and complex than anything possible: the power to create and, with her creations, capture and keep an audience’s deepest attention.”
-Robert O'Meally, "The Many Faces of Billie Holiday" Billie Holiday is not only a musician, but a lyricist, poet, actress, and interactive teacher through her performances and also her written music. Songs Billie Holiday composed herself:

Everything Happens for the Best
Tell Me More, and More
Long Gone Blues
Don't Explain
Now or Never
Somebody's On My Mind
You Gotta Show Me
Billie's Blues (I Love My Man)
Stormy Blues
Lady Sings the Blues
God Bless the Child
Fine and Mellow "Lady Sings the Blues"

Lady sings the blues
She's got them bad
She feels so sad
And wants the world to know
Just what the blues is all about

Lady sings the blues
She tells her side
Nothing to hide
Now the world will know
Just what the blues is all about Billie Holiday's emotional performance "Strange Fruit" “ Holiday's genius lays in its subtlety, in the way she bent a note or interpreted a phrase” - Farrah Griffin "When I came to the final phrase of the lyrics I was in the angriest and strongest voice I had been in for months. My piano player was in the same kind of form. When I said "...for the sun to rot," and then a piano punctuation, "...for the wind to suck," I pounced on those words like they had never been hit before.
-Lady Sings the Blues, 96. Disussion Questions
If Billie Holiday didn't have such a tragic childhood, do you feel as if she could portray the same amount of emotion in her performances?
Could the songs in which Billie Holiday composed have similar impact if they were read solely as poems from the Harlem Renaissance?
If Billie Holiday decided not to perfom "strange fruit" would her career have taken the same route?
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