On February 24, 2009 The Riverside Church of New York hosted an enormous three and half hour memorial for the greatest black female voice of the '50 folk revival and the '60s civil rights protest movement, Odetta Holmes, known to the world simply as Odetta. Her classically trained contralto, later with soprano features , resonated with depth, power and dignity through many years of recording and performing.
From high in the balcony where the VUPs (very unimportant people) were sent to sit, this video was
shot, despite occasional shoulders and ledges in its way, for Tuli Kupferberg's public access (people's media) show called Revolting News (mmn.org, What's on Now, ch. 56 alternate Mondays, 10 PM EST). The date this will air has not been scheduled yet but I will update this when I find out when.
Behind me in the balcony, a fellow named Jeff was sharing CDs of Odetta's last concert, 7/12/08 at the Great South Bay Music Festival in Long Island. The performance of Motherless Child was taken from it. Motherless Child is a classic Negro spiritual from the days of slavery when children were torn from their parents to be bought and sold, "a long way from home."
The welcoming prayer is delivered by Senior Minister Reverend Brad Braxon. I