Billie Holiday according to Stacey Rodda
Billie Holiday (1915-1959), one of the greatest jazz singers of all times would have turned 100 years on April 7th. To celebrate the centenary of this much loved musician, RTHK Radio 4 will run a special series within the program Jazzing Up, every Sunday night at 11:00 pm throughout this month of April. This series is the brainchild of Radio 4’s Stacey Rodda, a born New Yorker who has a long and special attachment with Billie Holiday. Stacey’s mother was a passionate fan of Billie Holiday and followed the singer whenever she performed in the city, either in Harlem or elsewhere, and Stacey grew up listening and learning to love Billie Holiday.
Stacey Rodda has written a few notes to present this series in RTHK magazine Fine Music, pages 24-27. There she duly highlights Billie Holiday’s iconic songs such as God Bless the Child, a song that brings to mind the worst years of the Depression, and Strange Fruit, on the human drama of racial segregation. If Billie Holiday is remembered for her deeply felt performances, it is because there was a lot of meaning in her songs, these were personal.
But in a fitting tribute to Billie Holiday, Stacey wants to bring us back the voice, the music, and not to delve into the singer’s tragic life. Remembering Billie Holiday, words certainly fail. For every jazz aficionado, listening to Holiday’s recordings is an inexhaustible source of joy. This is an occasion to learn more not to be missed.
RTHK Radio 4 FM Stereo. 97.6-98.9 MHz
Jazzing Up. Sundays. 11:00 pm
Portrait from Down Beat magazine, c. February 1947