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Nina Simone: Life of an Icon - Workshop & Music Masterclass

  • North Carolina Museum of Artei 2110 Blue Ridge Road Raleigh, NC, 27607 United States (map)

Nina Simone: The Life of an Icon


The life of an icon can be wrought with huge paradoxes and Nina Simone was one such icon. She left a huge a legacy of music and her contributions as a woman in the oft known patriarchal field of music were often overshadowed by her personal dramas. Lenora Helm Hammonds, Assistant Professor, Vocal Jazz at North Carolina Central University will deconstruct the music and life of Ms. Simone’s legacy, to offer a fresh look and understanding of what a woman in music endured through the journey from small-town North-Carolinian born pianist/singer to the international presence she became.

What will be explored in this workshop is how Nina Simone’s music changed the landscape of what was possible for women in music. The discussion will include a look at who her musical “children” are and the branches of those women musicians that point back to the extraordinary roots from the “tree” of Nina Simone and her musical lexicon. From the melodic and lyrical choices in vocal pieces, poems to which she wrote music, musical collaborations with other artists and instrumental compositions, Nina Simone broke barriers and laid foundation for generations of women in music. Workshop participants can expect to learn about the life of the great Nina Simone and leave with a knowledge of new discoveries of her work and impact as an American icon and as a trailblazing woman in music.


Arts-in-Education component. This workshop is designed (with take-away materials and handouts) to align with national learning standards to aid classroom teachers and educators to infuse their curriculum with arts-related lesson plans around the subjects of language and literature (lyrics and song structure); American history (Civil Rights Movement and Harlem Renaissance); and intercultural competence (jazz gender justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, ethnorelativism and empathy). Educators can use this workshop toward professional development CEU (continuing education credits) credits. 


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