Nona Hendryx

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Sunday 4/5/2015 Show: Billie Holiday Centennial!


This show aired on Sunday, April 5, 2015 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast focused on the life and career of Billie Holiday in celebration of what would have been her 100th birthday and featured interviews with filmmaker Phyllis M. Croom, author and Columbia University professor Farah Jasmine Griffin, and vocalist Nona Hendryx. You can hear a short preview below.

We speak with Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, the author of If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery – In Search Of Billie Holiday.

We revisit a discussion with Director Phyllis M. Croom of a documentary titled Being Billie: Re-Imagining Billie Holiday. We include an additional discussion with Ms. Croom before she hosted a premiere screening of her film that took place the airing of tonight’s broadcast.

We also spend a little time with composer and vocalist Nona Hendryx as she prepares for an event she’s curating at Harlem Stage titled “Parallel Lives: Billie Holiday & Edith Piaf.”

Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan Gough on Apr 7, 1915 in Baltimore, MD. Billie Holiday’s highly stylized reading of this blues tradition revolutionized traditional pop, ripping the decades-long tradition of song plugging in two by refusing to compromise her artistry for either the song or the band. She made clear her debts to Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong (in her autobiography she admitted, “I always wanted Bessie’s big sound and Pops’ feeling”), but in truth her style was virtually her own, quite a shock in an age of interchangeable crooners and band singers.

Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Next show: Sunday 9/18 with Nona Hendryx and Terri Lyne Carrington

The next show will air on Sunday 9/18 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC area.

On this installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl,” we’ll take a closer look at “The Mosaic Project,” which was produced and arranged by drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington. We will also spend time with one of the contributors to The Project, Nona Hendryx.

The Mosaic Project consists of some of the finest female instrumentalists and vocalists in the world, “women with voices,” coming together to support and celebrate each other from a musical and social perspective. The CD comments on historical, current and appropriately feminine themes with the intent to offer an informative, enjoyable, listening experience, driven by creativity and consciousness.

From her beginnings with Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles (the sweethearts of The Apollo Theater); to LaBelle (a trio made up of Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash) — the groundbreaking rock funk band of the 70s; followed by a stunning solo career; and then inducted into The Rhythm & Blues Foundations’ Hall of Fame in 1999, Nona Hendryx has always been on the cutting edge of music. Her songs are edgy, provocative, political and full of double entendres and empowering messages.

This summer, Nona released “Mutatis Mutandis.” We’ll sample this release and chat some more with Nona.

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