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IT'S ALIVE: Nina Simone "Go To Hell" (Village Gate, New York City)

Tune in today at 1pm to hear a small dose of live tracks, and this performance of "Go To Hell" from Nina Simone in New York City!

Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on this day in 1933. She had early dreams of being a concert pianist, and when her application to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia was denied, she began private lessons with Curtis instructor Vladimir Sokoloff. In order to pay for her lessons, she started playing jazz gigs in Atlantic City and adopted the name Nina Simone for anonymity.

In 1958, after a few years of playing in Atlantic City, Simone recorded a rendition of "I Loves You, Porgy" from the George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess that ended up on the Billboard Top 20 chart. The song was included on her debut album Little Girl Blue the following year, and with its success, Nina Simone had already made her mark.

She went on to become an icon in not only music, but activism and civil rights, as well. She used her music and notoriety to upset the status quo, and found herself in many cases of controversy and discrimination in the name of freedom.

This video features Nina Simone performing "Go To Hell" from her 1967 album Silk & Soul at the Village Gate in New York City. It captures her fully in her element, and in a moment of pure joy at the end of the clip.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org