“If only one could be sure that every 50 years a voice and a soul like Odetta’s would come along, the centuries would pass so quickly and painlessly we would hardly recognize time.”
Odetta had recently been hospitalized in New York City for kidney failure, and succumbed to heart failure on Tuesday at the age of 77.
Her blues and spirituals led directly to her work for the civil rights movement. They were two rivers running together, she said in her interview with The Times. The words and music captured “the fury and frustration that I had growing up.” She influenced such artists as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez and countless others.
She was slated to perform at Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009.
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