Billie holiday

Could she be the new Sade? Celeste at Union Chapel reviewed

Some years ago, when I was the music editor of a newspaper, I called a number of historians of black music asking if any of them could write about why the audience for new music made in the styles of classic soul, blues or jazz was almost entirely white. The people I asked, some of them august commentators on African-American culture, offered a few suggestions: black music was historically co-opted and deracinated by the white music industry so comprehensively that black artists just didn’t want to go back there; black music has always been about progression rather than revival, and it is simply of no interest to look back; the

A gripping portrait: Billie reviewed

This documentary about Billie Holiday is transfixing. Not just because it’s about Billie Holiday — I am not into jazz yet her version of ‘Strange Fruit’ is obviously incredible — but for the previously unheard audio tapes recorded by Linda Lipnack Kuehl in the 1970s with the people who knew her. This includes, for instance, Billie’s cousin, John Fagan, who chucklingly says he pimped her out as a child — ‘girls started young’ — and that women who ‘step out of line’ like to be knocked about and are proud of having a black eye as it shows ‘someone loves them’. Or it’s a band member recalling how Billie had