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  • Writer's pictureHarriett Dolphin

ASHLEY HENRY REIMAGINES NINA SIMONE'S MISSISSIPPI GODDAM" IN A CONTEMPORARY JAZZ FUSION


Ashley Henry
South East London's Ashley Henry breathes new life into Nina Simone's legendary anthem "Mississippi Goddam" with a stylish contemporary jazz rendition.

With his dream-like falsetto, Henry effortlessly navigates smooth piano licks and broken beat rhythms, capturing the essence of frustration, hope, and the ongoing quest for freedom in society.


More than 60 years after its original release, Ashley Henry brings his dazzling brand of contemporary jazz to this timeless classic. Throughout his reinterpretation Henry reflects on the song's historical significance, channelling echoes of the past while addressing contemporary social issues. Through soulful melodies and evocative instrumentation, Henry pays homage to Nina Simone's enduring legacy. Talking on the release Henry says;


“I was first asked to do a rendition of this song a few years back for a TV show - At first, I almost refused - the shoes were way too big to fill, but then I started to think about the meaning of the song and the relevance it still has today. When Nina Simone sang “Mississippi Goddam”, she expressed so much - frustration, anger, anxiety, resistance, and somewhere in there at the same time, hope or knowledge that a different reality of freedom was not only possible, but necessary, and had to be demanded.”


"So much has changed since then, and yet, it seems like we are fighting the same fight. By covering this song, I wanted to echo what Nina Simone was demanding at the time; though she was responding, viscerally to the murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four black children, as well as the Hattie Cotton Elementary School bombing and the Nashville sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee. The song rings true in today’s interconnected and international fight for freedom from forces of racist, colonial violence. Let Nina remind us to keep fighting, keep pushing, keep demanding freedom.”


With a highly anticipated album set to release this year, Ashley Henry continues to solidify his position as a grippingly unique talent on the rise. As he explores new dimensions of creativity and expression, listeners can expect to hear more captivating music from this talented musician and vocalist.


Through this soulful interpretation, Henry invites listeners to reflect on the past, confront present challenges, and aspire towards a future of freedom and equality.



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