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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Friday, 01 July 2022 07:02

She Raised Her Voice! 50 Black Women Who Sang Their Way Into Music History – Jordannah Elizabeth

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A book that should be on the curriculum of every school across the world.

Acclaimed writer and journalist Jordannah Elizabeth publishes her brilliant first book exploring the careers of fifty inspirational black vocalists. 

Aimed at children aged between about eight and twelve, this book is an essential read for everyone. While exploring and discussing the latest jazz books and legacy books and authors, we often leave out books for younger readers. But we must not forget the importance of exploring the legacy of jazz and what it stands for in an educational setting and of ensuring the true diversity of jazz is truly seen. It has long been discussed how the curriculum across the world lacks true representation and this is a battle that will no doubt, sadly, take some time to win. Children need to know what they can achieve and what is possible. Jordannah Elizabeth paves the way with this fantastic book and ensures that the role models children should see, do see.

I cannot imagine how hard it must be to select fifty women as subjects for this book. Jordannah shares with us brief biographies and career highlights of an incredible selection of women from Dinah Washington, Big Mama Thornton through to Erykah Badu and Sade, with roughly 500 words on each woman, and each section starts with a quote from the artist ‘When everything is finished in a world, the people go to look for what the artists leave. It’s the only thing that we have really in this word – is an ability to express ourselves and say ‘I was here’ ‘Abbey Lincoln. 

Jordannah’s work has always had a feminist lens and she has always been passionate about discussing and platforming black women. However, this is her first book and her first book as a children’s author, so she understandably took a different approach:

‘I did think from a child perspective when I was writing. I had children's faces in my mind, and I was talking to them and not only talking to them but thinking in their voices. I guess it would be hard to say how you get in touch with an eight-year-old and it's all a different world, but you can do it. You can tap into your child like sensibilities. Deep down we, as adults, know what children are receptive to and what they want to hear and what will help them learn. I was thinking as a child.’

This book is an inspirational read whatever age you are and reminds us of the astonishing impact of so many black women in the music industry. The focus is on singers, but the book also explores these artists work beyond their vocals, such as Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead summer school, (which is highly regarded and still going strong) and how racism influenced the work and careers of women, for example Nina Simone.

This book should be on the curriculum of every school across the world and every bookcase. Its importance must not be underestimated.

Details: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/jordannah-elizabeth/she-raised-her-voice/9780762475148/

 

Read 989 times Last modified on Friday, 01 July 2022 15:11

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