- Category : Singer - Popular
- Type : GE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Demands 2
American singer known for vocal power and clarity with a rich intensity of style. She moved to Los Angeles with her family at age six and grew up singing in school glee clubs. Her training continued at the Los Angeles Community College.
From 1949, she began to build up a following playing pro in West Coast folk clubs. In the mid to late '50s, Odetta toured the U.S. and Canada, putting out her first album in 1956. She was one of the performers at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1965. Her first European tour was in the early '60s, bringing her popularity to world-wife status. From 1954 she appeared on TV and in films. Odetta was never a chart-breaker but nonetheless, a legend in her own time.
She was married three times. As of 2005 she was touring still, albeit in small venues. Thin and frail-looking, her husky voice, incredible stage presence, gentle humor, and stamina enchant audiences everywhere. She is no less political at age 75 than she was at 35 and her repertoire still contains songs with statements about war, peace, slavery and political goings-on.
As she aged, health problems plagued her. In mid-November she was hospitalized with kidney problems and various ailments. The voice was permanently silenced on December 2, 2008 when she died in Manhattan of heart disease. She was a few weeks shy of her 78th birthday.