Archive for July, 2010


Til’ Earth and Heaven Ring with the Rolling Sound of Liberty

It is difficult to contain myself when the vocals begin. Dramatic music provides a platform for Her Highness to exorcise our purest emotions. When her diaphragm releases her serum, we are arrested by Her Majesty, Lady Leontyne Price, our hearts agape and our eyes water-heavy. We are reminded that extraterrestrial powers do exist, for this is no worldly voice.

Price’s regal ability to convey dramatic art is transcendent, making one feel as if Her Honour is Giuseppe Verdi himself, Aida’s composer. While the adjective “soulful” is thrown around in R&B and jazz reviews as often as Starbucks opens up a franchise, applied to Lady Leontyne’s classical medium, her attributed “soulful” character is refreshingly exuberant.

There is no part of a movement when I am indifferent about Her Royalty’s beautiful bellows or her still current in moments of diminuendo. Price’s voice is one so illustrious that no one’s chords dare rival.

Further, Leontyne Price’s mere existence brings a smile to my countenance; you can only imagine the cheesing I do seconds after pressing “play”.

More than an uncompromised force, Lady Leontyne is the hallmark of black womanhood, one whom we could only be so gracious to follow. Unfortunately, like our most precious brainchildren, Price goes celebrated more by whites than by our own. It does not matter the genre; in jazz, classical, rock, Hip Hop, R&B… you name it… our Talented Tenth look upon virtually, if not all, white audiences.

I will not accept the logic that people are “given” choices; rather, experience tells me that people make choices. And if their inability to think rationally and without bias is absent, then it is the tall and direct order of the omniscient to share with and mold the infirm. In the case of Lady Leontyne, she deserves our unanimous exaltation as a torch-bearer, no doubt with the welts of ensnaring prejudice upon her back, yet she is not the “caged bird” singing. She is a freely floating plume, asserting that we are one bird.

Garnering the most Grammy Awards amongst all classical troubadours, reverent Price diplomatically takes the hand of Malcolm X, declaring, “You can ‘sing up on some freedom’, Brother.”

May we lift her.