A special weekend celebrating the talent, legacy, and spirit of legendary North Carolina musician Nina Simone is scheduled Aug. 16-18 in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Art, Come Hear NC, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The singer and civil rights activist was born in 1933 in Tryon, N.C., a small community east of Asheville. Last year, the National Trust designated her birthplace and childhood home a National Treasure and announced a campaign to rehabilitate, preserve, and identify a new use for it in collaboration with the home’s owners.
To raise awareness of these efforts, a concert featuring Nina Simone’s signature songs will be performed by her daughter Lisa Simone, an award-winning actress and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist on August 17. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the rehabilitation and preservation of the Nina Simone Childhood Home which has been vacant for several years and is in disrepair.
Lisa Simone will be accompanied by the locally based big-band ensemble The Tribe Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Lenora Helm Hammonds. Featuring top jazz musicians with international followings, The Tribe Jazz Orchestra blends the traditional jazz orchestra with the modern chamber ensemble to create a swinging, soulful sound to complement the classic repertoire of Nina Simone.
Lisa Simone, a veteran of the United States Air Force, originated the Disney roles of Aida (“Aida”) and Nala (“The Lion King”) on Broadway. She won the National Broadway Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her turn in the leading role in the First National Tour of “Aida” before taking over the role at the Palace Theatre on Broadway, to critical acclaim. A member of the original Broadway cast of “Rent,” she was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award and Jefferson Award for her work in the touring production of the musical in the role of Mimi Marquez.
Lisa Simone has performed alongside Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo, Odetta, Tracy Chapman and Patti Austin in the 2009 international tribute tour to Dr. Nina Simone, entitled “Sing the Truth.” Lisa has headlined many world stages, from Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, to New York’s Lincoln Center and Town Hall, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, London’s Royal Albert Hall and Paris’ Olympia. She has also performed at international jazz festivals including Telluride, Montreaux, North Sea, Marciac, and Vienne.In 2008 she topped the jazz charts with “Simone on Simone,” her big-band tribute album to her mother. She was nominated for a Grammy Award as a member of Liquid Soul.
Lisa is the founder and executive producer of the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning Netflix documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” – a project she calls “a daughter’s promise, fulfilled.”
Lisa is signed as a World Music Artist to Warner Music Elektra France. Her latest album, “In Need of Love,” is due for worldwide release in September.
In addition to the concert, the museum will host workshops, a screening of the documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and other events to celebrate Nina Simone’s legacy. Details for each event follow. Purchase tickets online here. Tickets for all events are on sale now.
The weekend is also part of the North Carolina Year of Music, Come Hear NC, which seeks to celebrate and amplify North Carolina’s musical heritage.
Dance and Documentary
Friday, August 16, 7 p.m.
East Building, SECU Auditorium
Duke professor and acclaimed dancer-choreographer Tommy DeFrantz and his group SLIPPAGE @ Duke deliver a moving tribute to Nina Simone through movement. The 45-minute performance is followed by intermission and the screening of the 2016 Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary“What Happened, Miss Simone?”(2015) 101 min., not rated.
Music Master Classes
Saturday, August 17, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
East Building, SECU Auditorium
$27 Members, $30 Nonmembers
Lenora Helm Hammonds, assistant professor in the North Carolina Central University Jazz Studies Program, leads two master classes for music enthusiasts, educators, teaching artists, and students.
Celebrating Nina Simone featuring Lisa Simone in Concert
Saturday, August 17, 8 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
$45 ($41 Members) Reserved
$35 (32 Members) General admission
$15 Youth 7–18, college students with ID, general admission only
A Conversation with Lisa Simone
Sunday, August 18, 3–4:30 p.m.
East Building, Level B, Main Hall
$18 Members, $20 Nonmembers, free to students with college ID
Tickets on sale now
Lisa Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, leads a conversation about her mother’s legacy, her own life as a performing artist, and the critical responsibility of preserving African American culture.