People who write about Odetta often use words like "strength" and "dignity." They're both good words, but they don't quite catch the magnetism of this folk music legend--and that magnetism hasn't diminished a bit since her classic performances as a discovery of Harry Belafonte and Pete Seeger in the 1950s. Blues historian Samuel Charters came closer to the essence of Odetta when he wrote that "She has such a strong stage persona that sometimes I am left with the irreverent, but irresistible feeling that if Odetta had been the captain of the Titanic the ship wouldn't have sunk." Odetta is an interpreter of the spirituals, work songs, and blues at the heart of the African American tradition, and she is truly a legend in her own time.
Added by brandonz on August 11, 2005