Washington (ChatterShmatter) – Jazz singer and civil rights activist Odetta Holmes passed away Tuesday at the age of 77.
Odetta was a deep voiced blues and jazz singer whose career started in the coffee shops and nightclubs in San Francisco, CA. She went on to record a number of albums, the first such “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues” is said to have brought inspiration to others most notably singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
She first came to the West Coast when she and her mother moved from her birth-state of Alabama in 1937. She went on to earning a degree in classic music and musical theatre from Los Angeles City College.
Odetta recorded a number of albums during her career and performed at a number of prestigious venues, most memorable however was her performance at a civil rights march on Washington in August of 1963, where she sang the song “O Freedom”.
After the 1960’s her appearances decreased but the power of her voice and message carried on even as late as an appearance made in December of 2006.