Nina Simone's rage

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Meshell Ndegeocello

"Nina Simone was a messenger to our heart and conscience," Ndegeocello said Monday. "Not only a brave lyricist, but a brilliant pianist, as committed to artistic integrity as to her political views. There is no telling how many lives she touched with the simple affirmation of the beauty of being `Young, Gifted and Black.' I know she touched mine."

The first time I listened to Nina Simone I was stunned. Much of her work isn't too my taste. Some of it I'm still trying to make up my mind about. Even what I like best I can't listen to that often. I have a weakness for happy music. For me her work has a hard clear rage that quickly exhausts me.

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